One week after reportedly agreeing to terms, the Los Angeles Dodgers announced the signing of Japanese right-hander Kenta Maeda to an eight-year contract on Thursday.
Infielder Ronald Torreyes was designated for assignment to clear room for Maeda on the Dodgers’ 40-man roster.
Maeda, who will turn 28 years old in April, asked his club, the Hiroshima Carp, to post him for a move to Major League Baseball this offseason.
They obliged, setting a $20 million fee — the maximum amount allowed — for the right to negotiate with the star pitcher.
In signing the righty, the Dodgers will of course pay the agreed upon salary and are also required to send the $20 million over installments to the Carp.
It’s believed the two-time winner of the Sawamura Award (Japan’s equivalent to the Cy Young) is guaranteed $25 million, but with incentives his deal can exceed $100 million.
“We are excited to be bringing Kenta Maeda into the Dodger organization,” Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said.
“We have had the chance to scout him extensively in Japan and on the international stage and believe he has all the tools to be a successful Major League starting pitcher. We were honored to hear of his strong desire to be a Dodger and that only added to our motivation to bring him on board. We look forward to Kenta adding another chapter to the Dodgers’ global legacy and to him strengthening our ballclub in the years ahead.”
Maeda was 15-8 last season with a 2.09 ERA; he made 29 starts and logged 206.1 innings. It was the fourth time over the last six years he tossed 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. He represents the lone right-hander currently projected to be in the Dodgers’ rotation come Opening Day.
Maeda becomes the sixth Japanese-born pitcher to join the Dodgers. He’s the first since Hiroki Kuroda was with the club in 2011. Maeda will wear No. 18.