LA Dodgers, Japanese pitcher Kenta Maeda reportedly agree to terms

Home   /   LA Dodgers, Japanese pitcher Kenta Maeda reportedly agree to terms

first_imgThe Dodgers scoured the United States to stockpile left-handed pitchers this offseason. To acquire their first right-hander, they might cross an ocean.Multiple reports Thursday indicated the Dodgers have agreed to terms with pitcher Kenta Maeda. The Japanese right-hander was posted in December by the Hiroshima Carp, with a deadline of Jan. 8 to sign a contract.Club officials have not commented on the reports. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Maeda, who turns 28 in April, has already met with the Dodgers in person since the posting process began. He struck out 175, walked 41 and compiled a 2.09 earned-run average in 206 1/3 innings last season for the Carp en route to winning the Japanese version of the Cy Young Award. It was his sixth straight season with an ERA lower than 2.60.As the consensus best Asian pitcher on the market, Maeda is expected to command a contract in line with past Japanese stars, in addition to a $20 million posting fee. The New York Yankees signed Masahiro Tanaka to a seven-year, $155 million contract in 2013. The Texas Rangers signed Yu Darvish to a six-year, $60 million contract in 2011.Most scouts do not regard Maeda as a potential ace in MLB. 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.”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.center_img Ryu, however, enters the new year with some uncertainty. His 2015 season was wiped out due to shoulder labrum surgery, though he’s expected to be healthy in time to have a “normal” spring training.Earlier this week, Dodgers general manager Farhan Zaidi said he wouldn’t rule out adding another starting pitcher to the left-handed heavy rotation.Veteran right-hander Brandon McCarthy could return from Tommy John surgery in the second half of next season, and the Dodgers are expecting prospects Julio Urias, Jose De Leon and Frankie Montas to contribute at some point in 2016.Maeda proved durable in Japan, making no fewer than 26 starts in a season from 2009-15. He still comes with the usual asterisk for Japanese pitchers, who are accustomed to six-man starting rotations. Some scouts also view his listed weight of 150 pounds as a concern.The Dodgers haven’t been accustomed to durability lately. Sixteen different pitchers started a game for them in 2015, and their total of 55 different players set a franchise record.Health concerns have already scuttled one deal this offseason. Hisashi Iwakuma agreed to terms on a three-year deal with the Dodgers in December, but did not ultimately sign after taking a physical. Iwakuma then re-signed with the Seattle Mariners on a one-year contract with vesting options for 2017 and 2018.When Hideo Nomo signed with the Dodgers in 1995, he became the first Japanese-born player to star in Major League Baseball. Nomo blazed a trail to Los Angeles followed by countrymen Kazuhisa Ishii, Takashi Saito and Hiroki Kuroda. Kuroda was the last Japanese-born player to wear a Dodger uniform, in 2011.Maeda would be the eighth Japanese-born player to appear in a regular-season game for the Dodgers. He would join a group that includes new Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, who was born in Okinawa but is not fluent in Japanese.* * *Kenta Maeda could become the eighth Japanese-born player to appear in a regular-season game for the Dodgers if he signs a multi-year contract as expected. The others:Hideo Nomo (1995-98, 2002-04) OsakaKazuhisa Ishii (2002-04) ChibaDave Roberts (2002-04) NahaMasao Kida (2003-04) TokyoNorihiro Nakamura (2005) OsakaTakashi Saito (2006-08) SendaiHiroki Kuroda (2008-11) Osaka• Source: Baseball-reference.comlast_img

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