On Thursday the Los Angeles Dodgers announced the signing of Japanese pitcher Kenta Maeda to an eight-year deal that is heavily incentive-based.
The deal guarantees Maeda $25 million over the eight-year span, and he reportedly can earn as more than $100 million if factoring in bonuses.
Maeda was introduced to the media on Thursday in a press conference where he donned his Dodgers No. 18 jersey for the first time.
Naturally, he faced plenty of questions, ranging from his health to facing Major-League hitters to getting acclimated with pitching on four days’ rest.
Maeda confirmed there were “irregularities” that surfaced in a physical, which contributed to his signing a team-friendly contract. However, the right-hander is confident he’ll remain healthy moving forward.
Piggybacking on that, Maeda very clearly stated his goals for the 2016 season. “My goal, first of all, is to stay healthy,” he said through an interpreter. “Then, pitch 200 innings.”
Maeda was 15-8 last season with a 2.09 ERA; he made 29 starts and logged 206.1 innings for the Hiroshima Carp. It was the fourth time over the last six years he threw at least 200 innings and made 26 starts.
For his career, Maeda was 97-67 with a 2.39 ERA, 1.05 WHIP and averaged 7.4 strikeouts per nine innings. Despite the elbow irregularities, Maeda never missed an extended period of time with his Japanese team — a fact he was sure to point out on Thursday.
While he didn’t outright state it as one of his goals, Maeda mentioned multiple times his desire for a “champagne fight” at the end of the season.