MLB Rumors: Dodgers next target after landing Ohtani is another blockbuster

The Los Angeles Dodgers aren't done throwing money at free agents.

Shohei Ohtani, Los Angeles Angels
Shohei Ohtani, Los Angeles Angels / Sean M. Haffey/GettyImages
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The Los Angeles Dodgers landed Shohei Ohtani on a landmark 10-year, $700 million contract. He will join a lineup that includes Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman, launching the Dodgers to the forefront of the National League title race in 2024.

One would expect the Dodgers to focus on marginal moves after giving Ohtani the largest contract in sports history. There's only so much money in the world, and an obscene amount is currently tied up in the aforementioned trio of Dodgers MVP candidates.

According to Jon Heyman of the New York Post, however, the Dodgers are very much in the market for another blockbuster signing — this time Yoshinobu Yamamoto, the 25-year-old right-handed pitcher from Japan.

Dodgers interested in signing Yoshinobu Yamamoto, even after landing Shohei Ohtani

The contract projections for Yamamoto range from $200-300 million. If Ohtani is any indication, there's a strong chance Yamamoto's deal lands on the higher end of that spectrum. Yamamoto is the rare 25-year-old ace available to the highest bidder, and as Heyman reported yesterday, every big-ticket franchise is interested in him to some degree.

Of course, the Dodgers didn't sign Shohei Ohtani yesterday. To have Ohtani on a $700 million contract and still pay top dollar for Yamamoto would be a real power move from the Dodgers' front office. It pays (literally) to have an ownership group that is willing to break the bank.

While the Dodgers' offense should have no trouble stacking points, there is mild concern about the pitching staff. Clayton Kershaw's return is far from guaranteed, and he will at least have to miss a chunk of time with injury. Walker Buehler is due back after missing all of last season and Bobby Miller is on the upswing at 24 years old, but neither profiles as a bankable, postseason-ready ace.

Yamamoto does, and he's 25. The Dodgers can lock up a future All-Star at the very beginning of his prime. In 23 starts for the NPB's Orix Buffaloes last season, Yamamoto posted a 1.21 ERA and 0.884 WHIP with 169 strikeouts in 164 innings pitched. He went 16-6, earning his third straight Triple Crown. He is a dude.

Tossing 97 MPH heat with a vast collection of off-speed pitches and poise beyond his years, Yamamoto will impact winning right away. The Dodgers won 100 games last season and just added the unanimous American League MVP. Ohtani is expected back on the mound in 2025, but he will be relegated to solely DH duties next season as he recovers from his second Tommy John surgery. Yamamoto can hold down the fort, and then some.

Not every Japanese player shares Yamamoto's mentality, but the 2023 World Baseball Classic champion has expressed a willingness to share the field with other Japanese players. That could lead to Los Angeles' recent acquisition of Ohtani playing a pivotal role in Yamamoto's decision. If Yamamoto signs with L.A., he would be well-positioned to win on his country's new favorite MLB team.

The Dodgers actually have to put in the effort and convince Yamamoto to sign, but even the thought of Los Angeles signing the two biggest free agents of the 2023-24 crop is enough to send chills down the spine of every National League GM.

Next. 3 moves the Giants can make after missing out on Shohei Ohtani. 3 moves the Giants can make after missing out on Shohei Ohtani. dark