The Dodgers have agreed to minor league contract with right-handers Jordan Yamamoto and Dylan Covey. Yamamoto announced his own deal with the Dodgers on Instagram yesterday. Taiwan’s United Daily News first reported that Covey, who spent 2021-22 pitching for the Rakuten Monkeys in Taiwan’s CPBL, was signing with the Dodgers (hat tip: CPBL Stats, on Twitter).
Yamamoto, 26, was one of the four players who went from Milwaukee to Miami in the Christian Yelich blockbuster several years ago. He turned in a solid debut effort with Miami in 2019, pitching to a 4.46 ERA with a strong 25.2% strikeout rate against a rough 11.1% walk rate through 15 starts — a total of 78 2/3 innings. That looked to set the stage for Yamamoto to be a contributor on the Miami staff for the foreseeable future, but the righty was blasted for 23 runs in just 11 1/3 innings during the shortened 2020 season.
That nightmarish 2020 season was perhaps impacted by some health troubles. Yamamoto’s 2019 season ended with an IL placement due to a forearm strain, and his velocity in 2020 was down more than 1.5 mph from its 2019 levels. He was traded to the Mets in the 2020-21 offseason but pitched in just 6 2/3 Major League innings for New York in 2021, as a right shoulder injury shelved him for much of the season. Overall, Yamamoto has a 6.05 ERA in 96 2/3 big league innings, although that’s skewed heavily by the 2020 season. Subtract those 11 1/3 innings, and Yamamoto is at a much more palatable 4.43 ERA in 85 1/3 frames.
Covey, 31, has pitched in parts of four big league seasons, logging time with the White Sox each year from 2017-19 and with the Red Sox in 2020. He’s been tagged for a dismal 6.57 ERA in that time, but he has a strong track record both in Triple-A (2.63 ERA, 95 2/3 innings) and in the Chinese Professional Baseball League, where he tallied 198 1/3 innings of 3.63 ERA ball while pitching for the Monkeys.
The Dodgers already have a deep rotation mix with Clayton Kershaw, Julio Urias, Tony Gonsolin, Dustin May and Noah Syndergaard locked into big league spots (and Walker Buehler rehabbing from Tommy John surgery). That’s not counting top pitching prospects Bobby Miller, Ryan Pepiot and Gavin Stone, each of whom could factor into the plan as soon as this season. Righties Michael Grove and Andre Jackson, both on the 40-man roster, represent further depth options. Both Yamamoto and Covey will add some experience to that group.