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Shohei Ohtani, Mookie Betts, Freddie Freeman part of Dodgers pitch to Yoshinobu Yamamoto, per reports

Catcher Will Smith was also at the pitch meeting

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2023 World Baseball Classic: Championship Team USA v. Team Japan
Shohei Ohtani #16 and Yoshinobu Yamamoto #18 of Team Japan celebrate after winning the 2023 World Baseball Classic Championship game over Team USA at loanDepot Park on Tuesday, March 21, 2023 in Miami, Florida.
Photo by Rob Tringali/WBCI/MLB Photos via Getty Images

The Dodgers met with pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto on Tuesday at Dodger Stadium, and they rolled out the red carpet. Not only was Shohei Ohtani present in the pitch meeting, but so were Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman, per Fabian Ardaya and Rosenthal at The Athletic.

Catcher Will Smith was also at the meeting, per Russ Dorsey of Bally Sports and Jack Harris at the Los Angeles Times.

Ohtani and Yamamoto were teammates for Japan in winning the World Baseball Classic in March. Ohtani not only closed out the win in the championship game, but posted a 1.86 ERA with 11 strikeouts in 9⅔ innings on the mounds in the WBC, but also hit .435/.606/.739 with five extra-base hits and eight RBI in seven games during the tournament. Yamamoto had a 2.45 ERA and 12 strikeouts in 7⅓ innings in the WBC.

The Dodgers are not alone in their pursuit for Yamamoto. The Yankees, Mets, and Giants are among the other teams interested, which has driven up the market for the 25-year-old right-hander who has won the Pacific League MVP in Japan the last three years running.

That means Yamamoto’s market price is sky high.

“At 25, Yamamoto figures to command a deal of at least 10 years,” writes Rosenthal at The Athletic. “Few would be surprised if the average annual value was $30 million or higher.”

Kiley McDaniel at ESPN says, “Industry buzz now has him easily clearing $200 million and I wouldn’t count out him blowing past my seven-year, $212 million projection by getting $250 million before posting — and there is some chance this is still underselling what the final number could become.”

Yamamoto was posted by the Orix Buffaloes on November 21, meaning teams have to sign the right-hander by 2 p.m. PT on January 4. The signing team must pay a posting fee to Orix equal to 20 percent of the first $25 million of guaranteed money in the contract, 17.5 percent of the next $25 million, and 15 percent of any amount over $50 million.