Dodgers Prepare Yoshinobu Yamamoto for $325 Million Expectations, Lessen Pressure Amidst Spring Training Hype

Published 02/12/2024, 7:30 AM EST

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USA Today via Reuters

Imagine the weight of a city’s hopes resting on your 176-pound frame. That’s the reality for Yoshinobu Yamamoto, the Los Angeles Dodgers’ newest ace and the most expensive pitcher in baseball history, before throwing a single MLB pitch. Yes, you read that right. $325 million. 12 years. A mountain of expectations was strapped onto a young pitcher fresh from Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball. Talk about pressure! But the Dodgers aren’t fazed.

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The team sees potential—a “unique arm talent”—that  warrants such an astronomical investment. Now, the question is: can they create the perfect environment for Yamamoto to thrive and justify that staggering price tag?

Dodgers gamble on Yoshinobu Yamamoto as intrigue and expectations collide

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Yoshinobu Yamamoto isn’t your typical MLB rookie. He arrives not just with talent but with baggage—questions about his size, unorthodox training methods, and the infamous MLB learning curve, as The Athletic points out.

His every bullpen session is a star-studded affair, scrutinized by the likes of General Manager Brandon Gomes, Manager Dave Roberts, and even fellow mega-signing two-way phenom Shohei Ohtani. The pressure is on, but the Dodgers are playing it cool.

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“It’s really about setting up and putting him in the best environment to thrive,” says Andrew Friedman, the architect of this audacious gamble. He emphasizes a gradual acclimation, focusing on “life and park assimilation” and adapting to the rigors of MLB pitching. No unrealistic early results, just a carefully crafted path to unleash Yamamoto’s true potential. Even the Dodgers acknowledge the inevitable bumps.

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The rigorous learning curve ahead

Manager Dave Roberts warns of a “learning curve,” both for Yoshinobu Yamamoto adjusting to the league and vice versa. From slicker baseballs to a more demanding schedule, challenges await. But the Dodgers are prepared.

Roberts assures there’s “no plan” to limit his workload. They’re betting on his resilience, on his ability to overcome hurdles and emerge as the ace they envision. Can it work? Only time will tell. But it certainly looks like the Los Angeles Dodgers are going all-in on Yoshinobu Yamamoto.

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Yoshinobu Yamamoto Faces All-Star Expectations, Kodai Senga’s Rookie Exploits Set High Benchmark

They’ve created a unique experiment amidst the rigorous Spring Training schedule—a blend of pressure and support, all aimed at unlocking the potential of a pitcher who carries not just a baseball but the hopes of a city on his young shoulders. The baseball world watches with bated breath, eager to see if this multi-million-dollar gamble pays off or if the weight of expectation proves too much to bear.

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Written by:

Shrabana Sengupta

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One take at a time

"Those who gaze outward dream, but those who turn inward awaken." A pro-writer for MLB EssentiallySports, I’ve been a fan of the New York Yankees since my school days. In my adolescent years, I was introduced to the iconic franchise through one of my beloved Friends characters, Joey.
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Edited by:

Deepanshi Bajaj

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