Yoshinobu Yamamoto is headed to Major League Baseball. And he’ll be donning a Dodgers jersey.
When Yamamoto was posted, some were unsure how large his contract would wind up being. There had been some speculation he might ink a deal worth around $200 million, making him one of the highest-paid pitchers in the sport.
But his market rapidly picked up over time, and he wound up signing to a 12-year, $325 million contract, one of the largest contracts ever signed to a pitcher, topping only Gerrit Cole’s nine-year, $324 million in total value.
It was a rare contract for a pitcher to have never pitched an inning in the majors. But if any non-MLB pitcher has ever earned such a deal, it would be Yamamoto.
The ace of Team Japan in the World Baseball Classic, Yamamoto has won the Eiji Sawamura Award (NPB equivalent to the Cy Young) three times, won the Pacific League MVP three times and the Japanese Triple Crown three times. He also has two no-hitters to his name.
Yamamoto has seven seasons pitching in the NPB, having started when he was 18 years old. During that time, he has amassed a career ERA of 1.82 with 922 strikeouts, 206 walks and only 36 home runs allowed in 897 innings of work.
In his last season with the Orix Buffaloes, he had a 1.21 ERA in 164 innings with 169 strikeouts and 28 walks.
Coming over to the big leagues is not always a smooth transition. But there is plenty of faith that Yamamoto is going to be an immediate ace. Per The Athletic, he has a fastball reaching the upper 90s, a splitter Eno Sarris described as potentially the best among all MLB pitchers, an elite caliber curveball and elite command over his arsenal.
Now that he’s arrived in MLB, and is preparing to wear his No. 18 jersey — the number he wore in Japan — for the next 12 years, fans are undoubtedly going to be lining up to pick up a jersey for their team’s new ace.
Fanatics will be carrying the jersey with global shipping. While it’s not yet available on the site, it will be soon. Assuming the rollout is similar to Shohei Ohtani’s expect the jersey to be available in men’s and women’s sizes. Expect pricing for the Nike replica jersey to start at $134.99.
Source : ESPN.com