MLB rumors: 1 reason Dodgers might not sign next Japanese star

While the Dodgers have already signed two Japanese sensations, Los Angeles could miss out on a third.


The Los Angeles Dodgers made major free agency waves when they spent over a billion dollars to sign both Shohei Ohtani and Yoshinobu Yamamoto. But come next offseason, the Dodgers could lose out on the next Japanese sensation.

Roki Sasaki could be posted as soon as the conclusion of the 2024 season. When he does, numerous teams will be interested, including the Dodgers. While Los Angeles certainly has the money to sign Sasaki, some are beginning to believe he could look elsewhere.

That includes at least one MLB executive, via Bob Nightengale of USA Today. They believe that Sasaki’s, “soft-spoken, unassuming,” personality would mesh better with teams such as the San Diego Padres, Seattle Mariners and San Francisco Giants.

Three teams with playoff hopes, the trio will certainly be keeping close watch to when Sasaki is posted. But the Dodgers must still be considered a threat. Even if Sasaki’s personality isn’t very Los Angeles, the star pitcher is interested in winning. With Yamamoto, Ohtani and plenty of talent, LA has invested in exactly that.

There is still no word on when Roki Sasaki will be posted. He has stated how he wants to be following the 2024 season. But whether now or in the future, the Dodgers will be one of the many teams looking to acquire his services.

What Roki Sasaki brings to MLB

Japan starting pitcher Roki Sasaki (14) delivers a pitch during the first inning against Mexico at LoanDepot Park.Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports
Whether it’s with the Dodgers or another team, Sasaki has all the tools to be a prime contributor at the MLB level. Over his four seasons with the Chiba Lotte Marines, the right-hander has accrued numerous accolades and put up mouth-watering stats on the mound.

Through 51 NPB games, Sasaki has put up a 22-11 record with a 1.96 ERA and a 413/66 K/BB ratio. He set the record for most strikeouts in a NPB game with 19. Furthermore, his 13 consecutive strikeouts in that contest set a new world record. Before he even became a pro Sasaki was opening eyes, as his 101 MPH fastball broke Japan’s high school baseball record. Since joining NPB, Sasaki has been named an All-Star twice.

One of the most powerful pitchers in the world, Sasaki has a devastating strikeout punch. With over 400 in four years, the right-hander is a scary sight for any opposing batter. Which makes sense why teams around MLB are enamored with Sasaki’s potential.

The Dodgers certainly have some pros going their way. The fact they play on the West Cost, have money in bunches and already roster two Japanese stars should play in their favor. However, with competition coming from all angles, Sasaki could be impressed else. Shohei Ohtani obviously signed with the Los Angeles Angels to begin his career before ultimately joining the Dodgers.

Until Roki Sasaki is posted, any team interested in purely hypothetical. However, in a hypothetical sweepstakes, Los Angeles may not be the favorites many around the league expected them to be.

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