Dodgers trading Kenta Maeda back in 2020 was somehow perfect timing
By Eric Treuden
Despite the fact that the Los Angeles Dodgers had to play the first month of the 2023 season without Tony Gonsolin and that they had to endure poor performances from starting pitchers like Noah Syndergaard and Michael Grove, the club can rest easy knowing that holding onto former starting pitcher Kenta Maeda would not have worked out much better.
During Maeda's four-year stint on the Dodgers, he functioned as both a starter and reliever and had the flexibility to keep the team in the ballgame regardless of how he was utilized. All told, he had a 3.87 ERA and 105 ERA+ across 137 appearances on the staff.
On Wednesday, Maeda was pulled from his start due to "muscle discomfort," per Twins manager Rocco Baldelli. Surely it wasn't the 10 earned runs he had allowed through three innings of work -- it was the muscle discomfort that ended his day.
This new development just adds to the list of ways the wheels have fallen off for Maeda since he left the Dodgers.
Kenta Maeda's latest injury just proves the Dodgers move on at the right time
Prior to the 2020 season, L.A. flipped Maeda to the Twins in exchange for a package that consisted of current Dodger Brusdar Graterol and outfielder Luke Raley, who has since moved on to the Rays. Graterol has shown glimpses of promise in the past and has been off to a hot start in the current campaign.
What makes this deal essentially an automatic win for the Dodgers is the fact that Maeda has seemingly been made of glass since the trade went down. As a matter of fact, he has only made 36 total starts in the past four seasons (he missed the entirety of 2022), suggesting that the Dodgers may have moved on at exactly the right time.
To make matters even worse for the Twins is the fact that the 35-year-old hurler hasn't even been good for them either when he's healthy. He turned in an impressive 2.70 ERA and 160 ERA+ in the COVID-shortened 2020 season but has been well below-average in every one after that. Through his first four starts in 2023, he has a 9.00 ERA thanks to 16 earned runs on 23 base hits in just 16 innings of work.
This deal is already heavily leaning in the Dodgers' favor. Who knows how much time Maeda is set to miss this time, but he just can't seem to stay healthy on his new club.