Dodgers-Cubs trade debate on social media has fans in a frenzy

Los Angeles Dodgers v Cincinnati Reds
Los Angeles Dodgers v Cincinnati Reds / Brandon Sloter/GettyImages

The Dodgers pledged Yoshinobu Yamamoto $325 million and all kinds of perks at the end of their long pursuit of him, which also included the kind of courting that you might expect between one of the richest teams in baseball and one of the best pitchers to come out of Japan's NPB.

Yamamoto's had a bit of a rocky start to his MLB career (59 innings and 3.51 ERA through his May 26 outing), but he's very far from being the bust that Dodgers haters have accused him of being since his disastrous first start during the Seoul Series.

The Cubs signed a Japanese pitcher of their own during the offseason: the much less hyped Shōta Imanaga, who was far less decorated than Yamamoto in NPB and is also five years older than him. He got four years and $53 million with the Cubs — truckloads of money by almost anyone but professional athletes' standards, but still far from what Yamamoto got.

However, Imanaga is pitching in a way that would have him winning the NL Cy Young award if the vote took place tomorrow (subscription required). Over nine starts and almost 54 innings, his ERA has only gone over 1.08 for one appearance, and currently sits at 0.84.

Codify Baseball proposed a 1:1 trade between the Cubs and Dodgers for Yamamoto and Imanaga, and the results (44.6% responded 'yes' from the Dodgers but 'no' from the Cubs) were a little ridiculous.

Codify's hypothetical Dodgers-Cubs, Yamamoto-Imanaga trade opinion poll yielded absurd results

The suggestion that the Dodgers would be losing patience with Yamamoto after just 11 starts and wishing they'd signed Imanaga instead is faulty from the jump, but the idea that LA would be more willing to jump into a Yamamoto-Imanaga trade very nearly matches that level of ridiculousness.

Imanaga's jump into MLB has been miraculous in a way no one expected, while Yamamoto has had a few more bumps in the road. However, the Dodgers wouldn't have signed Yamamoto if they didn't think he had the potential to be one of the best pitchers in baseball, and — maybe even more importantly — if they didn't think he had the ability to adapt and grow. He's already added two pitches to his repertoire in his first third of a season in MLB.

Yamamoto's still very young, and his learning curve in a new environment might just take a little longer than Imanaga's did. The Dodgers are surely not letting him go anywhere, especially after the time and money they've invested in him already, and it's far more likely that he only has up to go from here than the opposite.