Yoshinobu Yamamoto has decided on his MLB team, and, sadly, it's not the Philadelphia Phillies. This result seemed inevitable, even though there had been a small glimmer of hope recently.
The 25-year-old from Japan is reported to be signing with the Los Angeles Dodgers on a 12-year, $325 million deal, per Jeff Passan of ESPN. The Dodgers will also have to pay Yamamoto's team in Japan, the Orix Buffaloes, a $50.6 million posting fee.
Since re-signing Aaron Nola, the Phillies have been very quiet this offseason but were linked to Yamamoto as one of the seven finalists for his services. While they weren't the favorites, battling the New York Yankees, New York Mets, and Los Angeles Dodgers, there was some hope that president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski would be able to perform a minor miracle and bring the right-hander to Philadelphia for the next decade.
The Phillies were reportedly aggressive in their bid to sign Yamamoto, per Alex Coffey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Just a few weeks ago, the team sent a contingent to Los Angeles for their first official meeting with the coveted free agent. The meeting included a sales pitch from Bryce Harper via FaceTime, which we now know didn't sway Yamamoto to join Harper and his teammates.
Even Rob Thomson said in a recent interview that managing partner John Middleton wants to spend money to win. Unfortunately, the Phillies now have to look elsewhere to spend their money.
Yamamoto is coming over to Major League Baseball after dominating in Japan since joining the Buffaloes as a 17-year-old in 2018. He has won three consecutive Eiji Sawamura Awards, Japan's equivalent of the Cy Young, and just won the pitching Triple Crown for the second straight year. The Orix ace went 16-6 with a 1.21 ERA and a 0.88 WHIP while logging 169 strikeouts in 164 innings this past season.
Despite not having yet thrown a pitch in an MLB game, and allowing for an adjustment period, most experts believe Yamamoto is the real deal and will be a top-of-the-rotation piece for the Dodgers for years to come.