The Los Angeles Dodgers added Tyler Glasnow to their rotation and now have their sights on Yoshinobu Yamamoto, who could potentially sign the biggest contract for a starting pitcher in MLB history.
Yamamoto is in the process of negotiating with interested teams and could make a decision by Christmas Day, but some have started to believe it may come closer to the new year. As his free agency plays out, other top starters remain in a holding pattern.
Shōta Imanaga was posted by the Yokohama DeNA BayStars of Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) on November 27 and has until January 11, 2024, to sign with a team.
According to Jon Heyman of the New York Post, Imanaga has drawn interest from the Dodgers and other teams, but will hold off on making a decision until Yamamoto signs:
The Red Sox, Dodgers and Cubs are among others looking at Imanaga, who’ll wait out the Yamamoto decision.
Imanaga is coming off a strong season that saw him go 7-4 with a 2.80 ERA, 1.05 WHIP and 174 strikeouts in 148 innings pitched. He also pitched for Team Japan during the 2023 World Baseball Classic and started against the United States in the Gold Medal Game.
Imanaga was selected by the Yokohama DeNA BayStars with the first pick in the 2015 NPB Draft. Over parts of eight seasons, he went 64-50 with a 3.18 ERA and 1.12 WHIP in 1,002.2 innings across 165 games.
It was previously reported that the Dodgers were among the teams interested in Imanaga, but they are currently focused on signing Yamamoto. The left-hander could be a fallback option if Yamamoto heads elsewhere.
Imanaga is projected to receive a contract of five years worth around $17 million annually. The team that signs him will be required to pay the BayStars a posting fee that is equal to 20% of the contract’s first $25 million, 17.5% of the next $25 million and 15% of any additional dollars.
Dodgers no longer interested in Blake Snell
While the Dodgers have interest in Imanaga, they are said to no longer be pursuing Snell. The Philadelphia Phillies, San Diego Padres and San Francisco Giants are the presumed favorites to sign the reigning National League Cy Young Award winner.