One day after announcing the signing of Scott Kazmir to a three-year, $48 million contract, the Los Angeles Dodgers reportedly reached an agreement with Japanese right-hander Kenta Maeda.
The Hiroshima Carp posted Maeda for the maximum $20 million fee in early December and Los Angeles was a natural fit given their need for starting pitching.
However, the club has yet to make Maeda’s deal official, which has raised some concern given the Dodgers’ agreement with Hisashi Iwakuma came undone after a failed physical.
Whereas the three-year, $45 million contract with Iwakuma was never finalized due to health concerns, the delay with Maeda appears to be related to the complex nature of his contract that includes performance bonuses.
According to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, Maeda will receive a guarantee of $25 million over eight years:
If it matters, heard guarantee on Maeda’s deal with #Dodgers is 8yrs at $25M, not $24M. Gambling on self with tons of performance bonuses
— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) January 2, 2016
An eight-year contract represents the longest handed out under the Guggenheim ownership group since Clayton Kershaw signed a seven-year, $215 million extension in January 2014.
Moreover, Maeda’s $25 million guarantee would be the third-richest contract given to a player by Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman. It trails only Brandon McCarthy’s four-year, $48 million deal signed last December and Kazmir’s contract this offseason.
Maeda, who will turn 28 years old on April 11, went Maeda, went 15-8 with a 2.09 ERA and 1.01 WHIP last season. He won the Sawamura Award, which is the Japanese equivalent to Major League Baseball’s Cy Young, for the second time in his career.
In eight seasons with the Carp, Maeda was 97-67 with a 2.39 ERA, 1.05 WHIP and averaged 7.4 strikeouts per nine innings.