The heart wants what the heart wants. While money is a main factor for players in MLB free agency, we have seen stars make minor concessions in order to join their preferred destination. Japanese ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto could be determined to will himself to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
“My understanding is he is a big Dodger fan and would love to pitch for the Dodgers,” team reporter David Vassegh said on Dodger Talk, via iHeart.com. “We’ll see whether or not the dollars add up to his fandom, but Yamamoto has his eyes on the Dodgers.”
If the 25-year-old is indeed set on moving to LA, then the organization should find a way to accommodate him. After signing Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman to huge contracts in recent years, it makes sense for president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman to shift the focus to starting pitching. Since Shohei Ohtani will only be a hitter in the 2024 season, Yamamoto might technically be the most coveted arm on the open market.
He absolutely shined with the Orix Buffaloes in the Nippon Professional Baseball league (NPB), winning the Eiji Sawamura Award (Japan's version of Cy Young) three times and earning three pitching Triple Crown titles. The young right-hander enters The Show with a great amount of fan fare.
All of that hype significantly multiplies if he decides to don the Dodger Blue. With Julio Urias obviously gone, Clayton Kershaw's status uncertain and Tony Gonsolin recovering from Tommy John surgery, there is a glaring hole at the top of the starting rotation.
Following Vassegh's update, fans will be terribly disappointed if the organization cannot secure Yoshinobu Yamamoto in free agency.