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Dodgers sign Jordan Yamamoto, Wander Suero to minor league contracts

Neither RHP pitched in the majors in 2022

Miami Marlins v Los Angeles Dodgers Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

The Dodgers added a pair of pitchers with major league experience to minor league contracts this week, bringing aboard right-handers Jordan Yamamoto and Wander Suero.

No word yet whether Yamamoto and Suero will receive non-roster invitations to spring training, though I’m sure that will be sorted out one way or another in the next week or so. The first pitchers and catchers workout in Dodgers camp at Camelback Ranch (for those not participating in the non-World Baseball Classic) is February 16.

Neither Yamamoto nor Suero pitched in the majors in 2022, and both posted ERAs that start with a six in the minors last year, if you’d like to calibrate your expectations for this season.

Yamamoto’s best year in the majors was his first, in 2019 with the Marlins, a year after being part of the Christian Yelich trade from Milwaukee. Yamamoto that season had a 4.46 ERA and 4.23 xERA in 15 starts, with 82 strikeouts (a 25.2-percent rate) in 78⅔ innings.

Since then, the right-hander has pitched only 18 innings in the majors, allowing 30 runs on 37 hits, including eight home runs. He missed over 15 weeks in 2021 with right shoulder soreness.

Last year with the Mets, Yamamoto posted a 6.00 ERA in 54 minor league innings, split mostly between Double-A Binghamton and Triple-A Syracuse, with 57 strikeouts and 20 walks. He turns 27 in May.

If Yamamoto ends up in the majors with Los Angeles, he’d be the sixth Dodgers player born in Hawaii, joining Charlie Hough (1970-80), Sid Fernandez (1983), Carlos Diaz (1984-86), Onan Masaoka (1999-2000), and Shane Victorino (2012).

Suero in his four years with the Nationals threw his cutter 75 percent of the time. He found success with the pitch in 2019 and 2020, suppressing runs at a rate near the top of the league in both seasons, as measured by both Baseball Savant and FanGraphs.

But he suffered a down year in 2021, with a 6.33 ERA and 5.47 xERA in a season that saw him miss a month with a strained oblique. He was non-tendered after the season, then put up a 6.08 ERA with Triple-A Salt Lake in the Angels system before finishing out the season in the Mexican Summer League.

The 31-year-old Suero also pitched in seven games for Tigres de Licey, winners of the Dominican Winter League, posting a 2.70 ERA in 6⅔ innings.

Should Yamamoto or Suero make the Dodgers’ 40-man roster, they do have an option year remaining.