The Dodgers have a lot of good clubhouse guys on the roster which is a culture change from the Zack Greinke days. Kenta Maeda is one of their team first players.
From the moment that Kenta Maeda signed with the Dodgers, he showed that he is a team-first type of guy. Maeda signed a very incentive-laden deal that pays him based on his starts and innings pitched. For every five starts following his fifteenth start, Maeda gets one million dollars until he reaches thirty starts. Kenta gets an additional million dollars if he hits 32 starts in a season. He also gets 250K for every ten innings he throws following 90 innings up until he reaches 200 innings.
Given Maeda’s contract structure that only guarantees him about 3.1 million, he is set to make most of his money through innings pitched and games started. The Dodgers sent Kenta to the bullpen this past weekend for a week and while it may not sound like much, that is one start Maeda gave up and most likely five to six innings. It may not seem like a big deal but come to the end of the season, this could be the difference of at least 250K dollars and potentially a million dollars.
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This is just the latest example of the team-first attitude instilled in Kenta Maeda. He also agreed to go to the bullpen for last season’s World Series run and all he did was turn into a very effective setup reliever for the club. While it helped the Dodgers, it was something Maeda has not done much of in the big leagues. It worked out for the best and has taught Kenta how to put away hitters so it was a good experience for all.
Kenta Maeda is exactly the kind of player fans should want on the Dodgers. He took less money to come to LA because he wanted to play for a franchise that has had many successful Japanese pitchers. Hideo Nomo, Hiroki Kuroda, and Takashi Saito just to name a few very good Japanese pitchers that have pitched for the Dodgers.
Not only did Maeda want to be a Dodger but he is always willing to do whatever is best for the club despite what repercussions it has on his potential earnings for the season. That is exactly the kind of unselfish players Dodger fans should appreciate and love. Hats off to you Kenta, and here’s to hoping you have eight very solid seasons in Los Angeles.