The Los Angeles Dodgers entered the offseason with a trio of goals they hope to accomplish in the coming weeks. In addition to reportedly acquiring a right-handed bat and reliever, the club is said to be seeking another starting pitcher.
The Dodgers thus far have been connected to Gerrit Cole and there is believed to be a mutual interest in re-signing Hyun-Jin Ryu. Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman has spoken fondly of Rich Hill, but the likelihood of a reunion is unclear.
L.A. could also look internally to fill some of the voids in their starting rotation, with Tony Gonsolin, Dustin May and Ross Stripling among the candidates that will vie for a spot in Spring Training.
Kenta Maeda is also returning to the starting rotation after a successful run in the bullpen to close out the 2019 season.
While he has thrived in both roles, the right-hander made it clear that his preference is to start on a permanent basis. So much so that he is said to be open to a trade in order to get his wish, per Andy McCullough of The Athletic:
“We’ve discussed, ‘Should he be traded?’ and all that,” Wolfe said. “While I think a trade might be appealing — because if he was going to another team where he would get to start for a whole season, that would be appealing to him. But his preference is to remain a Dodger, because he loves the Dodgers and their fans, and just be a full-time starter.”
Maeda’s frustration stems back to the 2018 offseason, when the Dodgers attempted to restructure his contract with hopes of converting him into a full-time reliever.
Maeda appeared in 37 games for the Dodgers during the 2019 season, compiling a 10-8 record with a 4.04 ERA, 3.95 FIP and 1.07 WHIP in 153.2 innings pitched.
He started 26 of those while the remaining 11 were out of the bullpen. It wasn’t until September in which Maeda took on a reliever role to prepare for the postseason.
The 31-year-old was effective in that capacity for the Dodgers, allowing just six runs over his final 10 appearances of the year. As a reliever, he posted a solid 3.24 ERA and 0.78 WHIP in 11 games during the regular season.
Maeda built on that success in the National League Division Series, where he tossed 4.1 scoreless innings against the Washington Nationals across four games, yielding just one hit while striking out seven.
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