MLB Free Agency Rumors: Dodgers ‘Top Contenders’ For Shohei Ohtani & Yoshinobu Yamamoto

The Los Angeles Dodgers are expected to take a more aggressive approach with improving their roster this offseason, and continue to be primarily linked to Shohei Ohtani and Yoshinobu Yamamoto.

Ohtani is perhaps the most coveted free agent in MLB history after six historic seasons as a two-way player for the Los Angeles Angels. The 29-year-old has kept his free agency private, but a report suggested he will hold meetings with finalists this weekend.

Yamamoto is arguably the next best available player to sign after the Orix Buffaloes posted him for all 30 MLB teams to negotiate with. The 25-year-old is projected to be an ace and will have no shortage of suitors as he makes the jump to MLB.

According to Jack Harris of the L.A. Times, the Dodgers remain among the favorites to sign both Ohtani and Yamamoto:

However, according to multiple people with knowledge of the team’s plans who were unauthorized to speak publicly and granted anonymity, the Dodgers are still among the top contenders for this offseason’s pair of Japanese stars.

The prospect of signing Ohtani and Yamamoto was never far-fetched for the Dodgers, who have the need and financial flexibility to add both players.

Ohtani won’t pitch next season after undergoing elbow surgery, but is still primed to sign the biggest contract in MLB history.

Even if the Dodgers are able to land Ohtani, they will still need to at least two starting pitchers, including a top-tier option like Yamamoto. Whether the Dodgers end up landing both, or either, remains to be seen, but they are clearly making a push to add top-tier talent to their organization.

Dodgers among many teams interested in Yoshinobu Yamamoto

Yamamoto went 17-6 with a 1.21 ERA, 0.86 WHIP and 176 strikeouts in 24 games for the Buffaloes this year. His career in Japan ended with a third consecutive Eiji Sawamura Award, which is Nippon Professional Baseball’s (NPB) equivalent of MLB’s Cy Young.

Yamamoto’s agent Joel Wolfe said his client has received more interest than any player he can remember. The right-hander figures to sign a contract of at least $200 million, which may very well push $300 million.

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