When Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto made the decision to join the team, his desire to win was the overriding factor. While the presence of Shohei Ohtani was undoubtedly appealing, Yamamoto emphasized that Ohtani’s choice would not have influenced his decision to join the Dodgers. “Winning now and winning into the future was probably the most important thing in making this decision,” Yamamoto stated during a recent news conference.
Yamamoto’s decision to sign a 12-year, $325 million deal with the Dodgers was propelled by the team’s unwavering commitment to success. He applauded Ohtani for structuring his own 10-year, $700 million deal in a way that allowed the Dodgers to pursue other talented players like himself. Meeting with the front office confirmed Yamamoto’s belief that the organization’s dedication to victory was genuine. “It wasn’t just the front office; it was also the players that bought into this winning atmosphere. That really resonated with me,” he explained.
The Dodgers’ general manager, Brandon Gomes, spoke highly of Yamamoto’s skills and routine, which greatly impressed the organization during scouting. Gomes described the pitcher’s pre-game long toss as an awe-inspiring display of precision and focus. “There’s a different level of intent and focus with each and every throw he makes leading up to that night’s game,” Gomes noted, emphasizing Yamamoto’s unwavering commitment to excellence.
Yamamoto now joins a pitching staff that includes Tyler Glasnow, acquired in a recent trade, and Walker Buehler, set to return in the upcoming season after undergoing Tommy John surgery. When asked if the presence of Japanese pitchers like Kenta Maeda in a Dodgers uniform played a role in his decision, Yamamoto acknowledged that witnessing Maeda’s performance in a playoffs game at the age of 19 had a profound impact on his dream to play in the big leagues. While not the sole reason for choosing the Dodgers, it certainly strengthened Yamamoto’s resolve.
During his official introduction, Yamamoto introduced himself in English before relying on his interpreter for questions. He expressed his gratitude towards Ohtani, who had encouraged him to ask for any support he might need. Yamamoto’s ability to communicate comfortably with Ohtani significantly contributed to his decision to play alongside him in Los Angeles. “To be able to play with him from here on out definitely means a lot,” Yamamoto acknowledged.
Although Yamamoto did not declare himself a Dodgers fan during his childhood, he admitted to always having a fondness for the team. However, the prospect of ascending to the major leagues and joining a historic franchise like the Dodgers was something he never imagined. His journey to this point is a testament to his talent and determination.
As Yoshinobu Yamamoto steps onto the mound as a Los Angeles Dodger, he carries with him the weight of expectation and the hope for a bright future. His unwavering desire to win, along with the combined efforts of the team’s front office and players, solidifies the franchise’s commitment to success. Yamamoto’s unique abilities and dedication to his craft make him a valuable addition to the pitching staff.
As the Dodgers embark on a new era, the partnership between Yamamoto and Ohtani sets the stage for an exciting future. The team’s fans hold their breath in anticipation, eager to witness the combined talents of these two Japanese pitchers. Only time will tell what triumphs and challenges lie ahead for Yamamoto and the Dodgers, but one thing is certain: the team’s pursuit of victory remains unwavering.