After going through a portion of the offseason without a prominent pitching acquisition, the Los Angeles Dodgers quickly moved to sign three pitchers.
Along with re-signing Brandon Beachy for depth purposes, the club added Scott Kazmir and Kenta Maeda within one week of each other.
Kazmir and Maeda have helped solidify the Dodgers’ rotation in an offseason that saw the club lose Zack Greinke to the Arizona Diamondbacks.
However, a certain degree comes with both Kazmir and Maeda. The southpaw can opt out of his deal after the 2016 season, while the Japanese native arrives with elbow concern after a physical revealed “irregularities.”
Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman nonetheless expressed confidence in the organization’s recent addition, and Maeda also believes he’ll proceed without issue.
Friedman did, however, allow the concern played a role in Maeda’s relatively low guarantee of $25 million over eight years. The incentive-laden deal can ultimately earn the right-hander north of $100 million.
Maeda’s contract calls for him to receive a signing bonus, annual bonus for making the club’s Opening Day roster and bonuses based on starts and innings pitched, via the Associated Press:
Maeda gets a $1 million signing bonus, payable within 15 days of the deal’s approval by the commissioner’s office, and yearly salaries of $3 million. Maeda’s contract is loaded with performance bonuses and an annual roster bonus of $150,000 if he is on the 25-man opening-day active roster. He would receive $6.5 million annually based on starts: $1 million each for 15 and 20, and $1.5 million apiece for 25, 30 and 32 starts. He would earn $3.5 million annually based on innings pitched: $250,000 for 90 and each additional 10 through 190, and $750,000 for 200.
On top of what the Dodgers may eventually owe Maeda, they will pay the $20 million posting fee to the Hiroshima Carp. Last season Maeda, who will turn 28 years old on April 11, went 15-8 with a 2.09 ERA in 29 starts (206.1 innings pitched).
Over eight seasons pitching in Japan, he finished 97-67 with a 2.39 ERA and 1.05 WHIP. Maeda also won two Sawamura Awards, which is the equivalent of Major League Baseball’s Cy Young.
Maeda became the eighth Japanese player in franchise history, following in the footsteps of one of his idols, former Dodgers pitcher Hiroki Kuroda.