The Los Angeles Dodgers have agreed to sign Japanese ace right-handed pitcher Kenta Maeda, Christopher Meola reported. The deal was then confirmed by Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.
Meola and Joel Sherman of the New York Post went on to report that the deal is for eight seasons and worth $25 million. He added that the deal includes plenty of incentives, which could add an extra $10 to $12 million per season. If all things cash out, Maeda could end up making over $100 million on the contract.
Maeda becomes the second addition to the Dodgers' rotation in just two days, after they announced the signing of Scott Kazmir to a three-year deal. After the loss of Zack Greinke, Los Angeles needed another starter, but they missed out on many of the top options.
Maeda provides balance to a Dodgers' rotation that had been completely filled by left-handed pitchers.
With the move, Alex Wood is likely bumped to the bullpen. To go along with Maeda the rotation includes Clayton Kershaw, Kazmir, Brett Anderson, and Ryu. Brandon McCarthy, another starter, is recovering from Tommy John surgery.
The Dodgers get quite a steal with the contract, as just $24 million of it is fully guaranteed. It was initially thought that Maeda would be a big risk, considering he is an international talent. However, with these terms, the contract completely becomes no-risk for the club.
Maeda becomes the second Japanese ace to sign with a Major League Baseball team in a few years, with Masahiro Tanaka joining the Yankees during the 2013-2014 offseason.
The new posting system will require the Dodgers to pay a posting fee for Maeda of up to $20 million. Under the new system, the Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) club sets the fee (up to $20 million) and any team that pledges to pay the fee is able to negotiate with the player.
It is assumed that Maeda was placed on the market for $20 million, though that is not confirmed.
Maeda does not post flashy strikeout numbers, however, his pinpoint control is his best asset. In the 2015 season in Japan, Maeda went 15-8 with a 2.09 ERA and a 175 to 41 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 206 1/3 innings pitched.
Meola reported the Diamondbacks and Astros were also in on Maeda. It is unknown whether either of them offered him a contract.