Dodgers Roundtable: Who Was the Best Offseason Acquisition?

Jan 7, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Kent Maeda (center) poses with Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts (left) and president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman at a press conference to announce the signing of the Japanese pitcher to an eight-year contract at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 7, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Kent Maeda (center) poses with Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts (left) and president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman at a press conference to announce the signing of the Japanese pitcher to an eight-year contract at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

In a new series we’ll be doing, the whole Dodgers’ Way staff will participate in a roundtable discussion. Today’s topic: Who was the best acquisition in the offseason?

Alex- Kenta Maeda

I’d have to give that honor to Kenta Maeda, all things considered. It’s tough to truly judge since we haven’t seen him throw a pitch at the major league level yet, but with the contract they gave him it doesn’t really matter. If healthy, Maeda should be league-average at worst, and depending on how many innings he pitches and starts he makes he’ll max out at roughly $14M/year, which is roughly what the market dictates.

My answer would have been Howie Kendrick, but I’m not really sure that counts as an acquisition. Having his consistency back in the lineup is a huge relief, especially with a few unknowns in the lineup. The Dodgers probably could have survived with an Enrique Hernandez/Chase Utley platoon at second, but a healthy Kendrick has been one of the most consistent players in baseball for years.

Amanda- Kenta Maeda

In my opinion the biggest offseason acquisition for the Dodgers was signing Kenta Maeda from Japan. Though he does not have an experience pitching in the MLB, his numbers from playing professionally overseas in Japan are impressive. Last season he posted an ERA of just 2.09 in 29 games. In his eight professional seasons, Maeda has a career ERA of 2.39 and a career WHIP of 1.04 At just 27 years old, he also has the potential to maintain a long career in the MLB and with the Dodgers. Like anything I am sure it is going to be somewhat of an adjustment playing in America. There are many unwritten rules that are going to be different than they were in Japan, but Maeda has a lot of potential.

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Daniel- Kenta Maeda

For me there are a number of potential candidates for this title and I think that’s characteristic of this front office – depth is always going to take precedence over star power under the watch of the Friedman and Zaidi front office. I thought the re-signing of Howie Kendrick for 2/$20m was huge and I think he’s going to provide a ton of surplus value on that deal but for me I don’t think you can look past Kenta Maeda. I wrote extensively about Maeda a few weeks ago (you can read that here) and I think everything about him is pretty impressive. I feel like the there’s a narrative being forced around at the moment that Maeda is a back of the rotation type but I just don’t buy that at all. Whilst he’s not overpowering (the fastball usually sits in the low-90’s), the fact that he has excellent control over four average or better pitches to me says that by seasons end, he should be pitching right behind Kershaw in the rotation. By the time you put him in a middle of the rotation that also features Scott Kazmir and Hyun-Jin Ryu, I think the Dodgers rotation will be one of the best in the game in 2016. Perhaps the best part about this is he will only cost the Dodgers a guaranteed $24m.
Look for Maeda to post around a 7.5 K/9, sub-2 BB/9 and an ERA of around 3.20, out pitching top free agents Jeff Samardzija, Johnny Cueto and Jordan Zimmermann.

Chris- Hyun-jin Ryu

Okay, okay, I’ll start right off the bat by admitting that I’m cheating a little bit here. Hyun-jin Ryu is not exactly a new acquisition for the Dodgers, but having missed all of 2015 recovering from shoulder surgery, he adds a dimension to the rotation that the 2015 version lacked.

According to Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times, Ryu recently threw a successful bullpen session under the supervision of new manager Dave Roberts at the team’s spring training complex. Getting Ryu back and pitching the way he did in 2013-14 would be huge and could help offset losing Zack Greinke to free agency over the offseason. Expecting him to pitch just as well as before the surgery may be asking a lot, especially at first, but I think Ryu could give a bigger boost than any new Dodger if healthy.

Aamer- Kenta Maeda

Not a whole lot to choose from here but I’m going to have to go with 27-year-old Japanese import Kenta Maeda. Coming over from the Hiroshima Carp, Maeda has posted an ERA of 2.39 and a WHIP of 1.048 over the course of his professional career in Japan. Now, we know that those numbers won’t necessarily translate over to the Major Leagues, but Maeda’s profile suggests to me that there might be room for optimism.

While he doesn’t have the best stuff we’ve seen from a Japanese pitcher, he’s still able to put up stellar numbers by controlling his low 90’s fastball and five-pitch mix. He’s a pitcher not a thrower, which means he has made his living by having exceptional control and pitchability. Those skills would seem to translate well, and while he may never be a number one starter, he seems like at least a solid rotation piece. Also, it doesn’t hurt that he’s right handed.

Andrew*- Scott Kazmir

After losing Zack Greinke to Free Agency, the Dodgers spent most of the offseason looking for a dependable top-of-the-rotation replacement. The Dodgers did not particularly have a busy offseason as such in years past, but their key acquisition was Scott Kazmir. At the beginning of 2015, we saw Kazmir pick up exactly where he left off in 2014. At the All-Star Break, Kazmir held a 2.49 ERA along with a great FIP of 3.16. After being traded to the Houston Astros to fuel their postseason run, we saw a massive decline in Kazmir’s performance. When pitching at the O.Co Coliseum, Kazmir maintained a 1.75 ERA. Based on his statistics while with the Athletics and their pitcher-friendly park, I fully expect Kazmir to maintain his above-average FIP and excel in Dodger Stadium with the Dodgers this season.

Next: A Closer Look at Brandon Beachy

*disclaimer. Andrew is super new here. He joined the staff this morning and was willing to join in on the roundtable. Welcome him to the staff!