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Dodgers Pursue Yoshinobu Yamamoto, Josh Hader After Shohei Ohtani Signing, per Sources

The Dodgers addition of Shohei Ohtani is the team’s big splash of the MLB offseason, but Los Angeles still has work to do to improve its roster. Ohtani gave the team some financial relief through his contract structure, and the Dodgers are planning to use that money on some high-profile players.

Sports Illustrated’s Tom Verducci reports that Yoshinobu Yamamoto and Josh Hader are two players the Dodgers are targeting in free agency. While Los Angeles’s interest in Yamamoto has been well-documented, the team has not yet been publicly linked to Hader.

Yamamoto is a Japanese baseball star who has been popular on the open market, as the Yankees, Mets, Giants and Red Sox are among the other teams reportedly interested. The 25-year-old totaled an ERA under 2.00 in his last three seasons in NPB, helping him win back-to-back-to-back Pacific League MVPs and Eiji Sawamura awards.

Padres closer Josh Hader claps his glove after a win.

Reliever Josh Hader and starter Yoshinobu Yamamoto are two  of the Dodgers’ free agent targets.

Hader, meanwhile, is the best reliever on the market who spent most of his career with the Brewers before being traded to the Padres in July of 2022. The five-time All-Star had a 1.28 ERA, 33 saves, and 85 strikeouts in 61 games last year, and is likely looking for a deal north of $100 million.

Even if the Dodgers wanted to pocket the money saved from Ohani’s deferred contract, they may not be allowed to do so. Verducci also reported that language in the Ohtani contract requires Los Angeles to invest the extra money back into the team.

Los Angeles certainly needs pitching in 2024, as Ohtani is not expected to pitch all year, and the team’s rotation is very young. Adding Yamamoto, Hader, or both would be a solid way to supplement Ohtani’s presence.