When the Los Angeles Dodgers initially struck an agreement with the Boston Red Sox to acquire Mookie Betts and David Price in a blockbuster three-team trade that also included the Minnesota Twins, they were poised to part with Kenta Maeda.
But after reaching an impasse that held up the finalization of the deal for nearly a week, the Dodgers were forced to proceed without the Twins being part of the transaction.
A solution was ultimately found as L.A. made a separate deal with Minnesota. Rather than pitching prospect Brusdar Graterol heading to Boston, he was instead traded to the Dodgers as part of a package that sent Maeda to the Twins.
Many felt that a Maeda trade was inevitable given his desire to start on a regular basis. With a goal of winning 200 career games, it was initially believed he requested to be traded in order to get his wish.
Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman recently clarified this notion and revealed Maeda never formally asked for a trade, via Bill Plunkett of the Southern California News Group:
“He and I had a conversation in early September after he moved to the ’pen,” Friedman said. “It was a really good, open, honest conversation in that he talked about how much he personally wants to try to win 200 games – which I totally understand and respect. And he understood that from our vantage point we were just trying to optimize how to win games and trying to figure out how to balance those things. It was a very respectful, good, open, honest conversation. And so he brought that up.”
Friedman said he was taken by surprise when he saw stories referring to a trade demand from Maeda. “I saw the headline and then we had someone actually listen to it,” Friedman said. “And he didn’t in that meeting demand anything and nor did he actually say he did in that interview.”
Last November it was reported Maeda and his representatives approached the Dodgers about a potential trade. The conversation stemmed from the right-hander wishing to avoid the seemingly annual shift to the bullpen.
Maeda thrived in the role but reiterated multiple times his preference was to start. Had he remained with L.A., the plan — at least initially — was for him to be part of the Opening Day rotation.
Maeda went 47-35 with a 3.87 ERA, 1.15 WHIP and 641 strikeouts in 589 innings over 137 career games (103 starts) with the Dodgers.
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