Dodgers signing Ohtani ended the Yamamoto sweepstakes before they even started

As it turns out, the Dodgers were always going to be Yamamoto's landing spot thanks to Shohei Ohtani.
Dec 21, 2023; Inglewood, California, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers player Shohei Ohtani (left) and
Dec 21, 2023; Inglewood, California, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers player Shohei Ohtani (left) and / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
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Throughout the course of Yoshinobu Yamamoto's free agency, the Los Angeles Dodgers were clearly in the running to sign him in what was a crowded field of suitors. He had multiple meetings with the Mets and Yankees, with the latter looking like a prime landing spot, and the Giants and Phillies were making big offers.

When the dust settled late Thursday night, the Dodgers won what was thought to be a bruising competition that could finally unlock the rest of the free agent market when Yamamoto agreed to a 12-year, $325 million deal.

However, if MLB Network's Jon Morosi is to be believed (which is fair to question after he totally flubbed his Toronto plane reporting), his most recent report on how the Yamamoto deal went down leads one to believe that Yamamoto was always going to be a Dodger, thanks in large part to Shohei Ohtani.

Jon Heyman backed this reporting as well, so that makes two insiders!

Ohtani's presence AND his contract made the Dodgers signing Yamamoto a lock

In the above clip, Morosi intimated that after speaking with a source, the impression he got was that Yamamoto just wanted to be a Dodger and wanted to play with Shohei Ohtani. Yes, even if the money was as good or better elsewhere -- which was the case here, as the Dodgers matched the Mets' massive offer. It probably didn't hurt that the Dodgers are strictly a better team than Yamamoto's other suitors.

More than that, though, the structure of the deal that Ohtani agreed to made signing Yamamoto possible. With Ohtani deferring the vast majority of the money owed to him over the next decade, the Dodgers had a ton of room to maneuver to still add top level talent. As it turns out, the trade for Tyler Glasnow (and resulting extension) represented only the tip of the iceberg for just how far LA was willing to press the advantage that Ohtani gave them.

When Giants ace Logan Webb confirms these suspicions, believe him. This was all about the Dodgers finding a way to make the righty's expensive dreams come true, and they certainly did.

A motivated and aggressive Dodgers team that has a ton of payroll space, a big boost in Ohtani-related revenue, an insanely talented roster, and just signed the guy Yamamoto reportedly wanted to play with the most? Yeah, this thing was o-v-e-r before it even started. The rest of the league just didn't know it until now.

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