Dodgers introduce Kenta Maeda

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After the fiasco trying to get pitcher Aroldis Chapman from the Cincinnati Reds, the Dodgers beefed up their starting rotation by acquiring left-hander Scott Kazmir from the Houston Astros, and now, Japanese pitcher Kenta Maeda.

Maeda and the Dodgers signed an eight-year contract worth $25 million, which is low for a starting pitcher. The small price tag was due to a question that arose from a physical he had before signing with the Dodgers. Neither Maeda or Andrew Friedman, President of Baseball Operations for the Dodgers, would comment on what the “irregularities” were, but the speculation is that it has to do with his ulnar collateral ligament — UCL — which is the ligament that gets repaired with Tommy John surgery.

Maeda is confident he will start 30-plus games and pitch at least 200 innings per season. If he does that the contract incentives could pay him as much as $100 million or more over the eight years.

With the aid of a translator, Maeda told the press, “Despite the fact there were some irregularities found, the Dodgers made a decision to make a long-term commitment to me and that was meaningful to me.”

He got a laugh from the crowd of reporters, that included a large contingent from Japan, when he said, “I really want to do a champagne fight at the end of the season.”

The Dodgers are relying on their staring rotation, which has a lot of left-handed pitchers, to get into the World Series this year. Maeda will be one of two right-handers in the rotation, if Alex Wood. stays with the Dodgers.

New Manager Dave Roberts was born in Japan and he was there to welcome his new pitcher, along with general manager Farhan Zaidi and team president Stan Kasten.

Maeda told everyone, “The Dodgers obviously have a tremendous history and I’m very happy to be part of it.”

Claudia Gestro covered the press conference. Her video from the event is below.

Pictures and video by Claudia Gestro
Photo above: Farhan Zaidi, Dave Roberts, Kenta Maeda and Andrew Friedman