One day after strengthening their starting rotation with the signing of Scott Kazmir, the Los Angeles Dodgers went a step further by reportedly reaching a contract agreement with Japanese righty Kenta Maeda.
Terms of the deal are still unknown, but rumors that are swirling early suggest that the contract could possibly encompass eight years.
In addition to the money owed to Maeda in the terms of the contract, the Dodgers will pay the Hiroshima Carp a posting fee which may total up to $20 million.
Think Blue Planning Committee explored the possibility of signing Maeda earlier in December.
Maeda, who will be 28 at the beginning of the 2016 season, is considered by many the top current pitcher in Japan. He began pitching professionally at age 20 for the Carp in 2008. In 2015, he posted a 15-8 record, hurling 206+ innings while recording a 2.09 ERA, 7.6 K/9 and 1.8 BB/9.
His banner year may have been 2013, when he fanned 171 batters in 206 innings while logging a 1.53 ERA. His efforts for both of those years earned him Sawamura Awards — Japan’s equivalent to MLB’s Cy Young Award.
According to scouting reports, his early projection is to be a workhorse-type — possibly slotting in as a solid #3 or #4 starter upon his arrival to MLB.
Baseball America‘s Ben Badler recently posted a scouting report (subscription required) on Maeda, which he offered the following analysis (excerpt):
“Maeda has shown solid stuff across the board, with a fastball that sits at 89-93 mph and can touch 94, a tick above-average slider that he leans on heavily, along with a curveball and a changeup … While Maeda’s slider is usually his go-to secondary pitch, his best offspeed weapon in two starts against Mexico and Puerto Rico was his changeup.”
Maeda will compete for in a spot in the Dodgers’ starting rotation with Kazmir, Clayton Kershaw, Brett Anderson, Alex Wood and Hyun-jin Ryu, potentially breaking up the possibility of an all left-handed starting five.
With the offseason now past the halfway point, approximately seven weeks remain for the Dodgers to fine-tune and polish the roster before spring training begins.
Maeda will presumably report to Camelback Ranch with other Dodgers’ pitchers and catchers on February 19.
(Photo Credit: The Japan Times)