Dodgers Rumors: MLB insider says LA joins fray for top Japanese free agent starter

It's nothing until it's something.

Republic of Korea v Japan - Baseball - Olympics: Day 12
Republic of Korea v Japan - Baseball - Olympics: Day 12 / Koji Watanabe/GettyImages

If the San Francisco Giants intend to come away from this offseason with former Dodgers fan favorite Cody Bellinger on their roster -- at an exorbitant cost -- then the least the Dodgers can do is press SF on one of their other targets.

Worst-case scenario, Andrew Friedman drives up the price for the Giants, Mets, Yankees, and other blind bidders on Yoshinobu Yamamoto. Best-case? He comes away with another mid-20s superstar pitcher for a rotation that desperately needs high-end talent.

According to Jon Morosi, the Dodgers are "among the most interested" teams early in Yamamoto's free agency process; the window to negotiate with him has yet to even formally open.

It's fair to be skeptical; Morosi registering "interest" from a big market team in Week 1 of the offseason should be taken with a massive handful of salt. Still, it's an honor just to be nominated, and Yamamoto would fit nicely on any team's depth chart.

Dodgers interested in Yoshinobu Yamamoto? Join the club.

The Dodgers need at least two All-Star-level starters this offseason, as well as an impressive innings eater. Clayton Kershaw is both a rehabbing shell of his former self and unavailable for a good portion of the season. He's also a free agent. Tony Gonsolin is in the early portion of his Tommy John rehab, and every press release about Dustin May feels bleaker than the last. Julio Urías has entered free agency and perhaps exited Major League Baseball. The Dodgers cannot afford to bank on Walker Buehler's return yet again. Who pitches on Walker Buehler's Day Off?

Yamamoto will command a princely sum, likely looking at a long-term contract worth approximately $30 million per year. Steve Cohen's Mets will be involved until the bitter end, and the aforementioned Giants, rumor has it, are desperate and "will not be outbid" on their targets, one year after watching several top-tier free agents land elsewhere.

The one good thing about Cohen's involvement? It means Yamamoto isn't deterred by sharing a locker room with another Japenese superstar, Rookie of the Year runner-up Kodai Senga. Therefore, the Dodgers could technically add both Yamamoto and Shohei Ohtani, even if it takes some finagling. No better time than the present.