After weeks of the Los Angeles Dodgers failing to sign or trade for a starting pitcher, they addressed their needs on back-to-back days in late December.
The club announced the signing of Scott Kazmir to a three-year deal on Dec. 30, and one day later reportedly reached an agreement with Kenta Maeda.
While Kazmir has been part of the organization for the past two week now, Maeda’s eight-year contract was not made official until Thursday.
“Today is an exciting day for the Dodgers organization,” said Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman during his opening statement at Thursday’s press conference.
“To add a player of Kenta’s caliber is something that after we spent a lot of time evaluating him, getting to know him, we are excited to add him to our group not just for 2016, but for the foreseeable future.”
The Japanese native received a $25 million guarantee, which is lower than expected, but incentives will allow for the right-hander to earn over $100 million.
An explanation for team-friendly contract is Maeda’s physical raised some red flags. The 27 year old confirmed there were “irregularities.”
He did not however, provide more details or answer questions specifically related to his elbow. “I’m not worried about this season at all. I am confident I will be able to pitch,” Maeda said through a translator.
“I played in Japan for nine years and never left the team for a long period of time with an injury.” Maeda is coming off a season in which he logged 206.1 innings over 29 starts. It was the fourth time in the last six years he’s tossed at least 200 innings and made a minimum of 26 starts.
Maeda thanked the Dodgers for their long-term commitment to him in light of the health concern and twice stated he’s looking forward to “champagne fights” at the end of the season. For his career, Maeda was 97-67 with a 2.39 ERA and 1.05 WHIP with the Hiroshima Carp.