The Dodgers are expected to introduce Kenta Maeda at a press conference Thursday at Dodger Stadium. The pitcher has a widely reported contract already in place that will pay him a base salary of $25 million over the next eight years, with incentives that could take his salary into the triple digits.
Maeda, 28, won Japan’s equivalent of the Cy Young Award in 2015. He struck out 175, walked 41 and compiled a 2.09 earned-run average in 206 1/3 innings last season for the Hiroshima Carp. It was his sixth straight season with an ERA lower than 2.60.
Most scouts do not regard Maeda as a potential ace in Major League Baseball, but rather a middle-to-back-of-the-rotation starter. He reportedly throws a fastball in the 89-93 mph range as well as a slider and a changeup. Dodgers pitching coach Rick Honeycutt said in a recent interview with MLB Network Radio that Maeda’s “delivery is extremely good.”
“What I’ve liked about the Japanese pitchers we’ve had in the past is they have a really good delivery that’s repeatable,” Honeycutt told the station. “They throw a lot of strikes, command the ball extremely well. Very interesting arm there in Maeda.”
“Interesting” can mean many things:
Source says #Dodgers-Kenta Maeda deal is taking a while because of concerns over his elbow. Expected to be official in next day or 2.
— Jerry Crasnick (@jcrasnick) January 6, 2016
The Dodgers signed left-handed pitcher Scott Kazmir to a three-year, $48 million contract Wednesday. Maeda would join a rotation that already includes five left-handers: Kazmir, Clayton Kershaw, Brett Anderson, Alex Wood and Hyun-Jin Ryu.