One day after signing Scott Kazmir to a three-year, $48 million contract, the Los Angeles Dodgers reportedly agreed to terms with Kenta Maeda.
The Japanese native was posted by the Hiroshima Carp in December for the maximum $20 million fee. Given their deep pockets, history in signing international free agents and need for a starting pitcher, the Dodgers were immediately seen as a viable landing spot.
Maeda’s deal with the Dodgers is said to be for eight years and with a guarantee of $25 million.
While an agreement in principle was reportedly reached on Dec. 31, the Dodgers have yet to formally announce the contract.
It’s believed the delay is related to elbow concern, though Maeda is still expected to wind up with the Dodgers.
While his contract is for substantially less than what many expected, Maeda can earn more than $100 million by reaching various performance bonuses, per Bill Shaikin of the LA Times:
The contract enables Maeda to earn more than $100 million but guarantees him as little as $24 million, according to a person familiar with the deal but not authorized to discuss it publicly.
On top of the relatively low guaranteed salary, Maeda will not be eligible for arbitration as he plays out the contract:
Under similarly structured deals with a variety of teams, players have been able to void the contract and opt into salary arbitration after completing the first three years of the deal. Maeda’s contract with the Dodgers does not permit him to file for salary arbitration, according to the person who has seen the deal
Maeda, who will turn 28 years old in April, went 15-8 with a 2.09 ERA last season. He tossed more than 200 innings for the fourth time in the last six years, but first since 2012.
Moreover, Maeda won his second career Sawamura Award in 2015, which is the Japanese equivalent to Major League Baseball’s Cy Young. In eight seasons with the Carp, Maeda was 97-67 with a 2.64 ERA.