Details about the Los Angeles’ Dodgers contract with Japanese starting pitcher Kenta Maeda are slowly starting to emerge. As is the case with the rest of the Dodgers’ moves this offseason, their negotiations with a free agent have been both methodical and unorthodox.
Reports that the Dodgers had agreed with Maeda on a contract first emerged on New Year’s Eve. Two days later, the exact terms of the contract still have not been solidified, although Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the deal is eight years with $25 million guaranteed and “tons of performance bonuses.” Los Angeles’ financial commitment to Maeda also includes paying the maximum $20 million posting fee to Maeda’s former Japanese team, the Hiroshima Carp.
Maeda has been in Hiroshima’s starting rotation for the last eight seasons, including making more than 25 starts in each of the last seven seasons. His career numbers in Japan include a 2.39 ERA and 7.4 strikeouts per nine innings, which compare favorably to the Japanese statistics posted by recent import Hisashi Iwakuma, who had a 3.25 ERA and 6.9 K/9 when in Japan.
This offseason, the Dodgers have cut payroll while adding significant starting pitching depth. Although former Dodger Zack Greinke signed with division rival Arizona Diamondbacks, Maeda is the eighth potential starting pitcher on the Dodgers’ payroll, joining Clayton Kershaw, Brett Anderson, Scott Kazmir, Brandon McCarthy, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Alex Wood, and Mike Bolsinger.