Dodgers Reportedly Sign Kenta Maeda

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The Dodgers added another pitcher to their staff, reportedly signing a 27-year-old Japanese pitcher.

Remember how the Dodgers didn’t have a full pitching staff? And then they got a pitcher, but they were going to have an all left-handed rotation?

The season starts in April, meaning the roster in December is pointless to worry about. The Dodgers finally got their righty, reportedly coming to agreement with Kenta Maeda of the Hiroshima Carp. Jon Heyman of CBS Sports confirmed a report by Christopher Meola.

I wrote about my desire for the Dodgers to pursue Maeda here about three weeks ago, and have been very on-board with him for most of the offseason. He isn’t as filthy as fellow Japanese pitchers Yu Darvish and Masahiro Tanaka, but he seems to be a very solid rotation piece with good stuff. The Dodgers don’t necessarily need Maeda to be an ace, but he seems to be a guy with upside and a relatively high floor. His youth and ability is definitely intriguing, and only time will tell whether he’ll find success in the MLB.

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The eight years being reported by Meola is potentially correct, but sort of misleading. The tweet before that was much more important, as incentives will play a huge role in this contract. Eight guaranteed years for any pitcher is a terrible idea, and you are a fool if you thought the Dodgers would hand out an eight year deal. According to Joel Sherman, the deal is for at least five years, complicated, and loaded with performance bonuses.

The only definite is that the Dodgers will pay the Carp $20 million per transfer rules. The Carp posted Maeda for $20M, which is the max under the new rules. Any team that wished to negotiate with Maeda had to agree to pay that, but only the team that signs him (in this case, the Dodgers) have to actually pay it.

It’ll be hard to truly judge this deal until the financials are released, but the Dodgers added another pitcher to an already deep pitching staff. There isn’t as much starpower without Zack Greinke, but Clayton Kershaw, Hyun-jin Ryu, Scott Kazmir, Alex Wood, Brett Anderson and now Maeda should be able to form a very good rotation (this ignores depth guys like Mike Bolsinger, Carlos Frias, Joe Wieland, Zach Lee and the eventual return of Brandon McCarthy). This front office is always looking for a next move, so moving Wood could make sense and shore up another area (Wood for a good reliever?). Last year, the Dodgers used 16 starting pitchers, and no team used fewer than eight, so that depth is very important. Especially considering the injury risk with Ryu and Anderson, keeping all these guys could be wise.

It might be a while until we have all the details, but if this offseason has shown us anything it’s that this deal will inevitably fall through. If it doesn’t, this is a great bit of news to end 2015 on. See you all in 2016!

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