Where EAST meets the Northwest
FULL-TIME STARTER. Starting pitcher Kenta Maeda of the Minnesota Twins warms
up before pitching against the Boston Red Sox in a spring training baseball game
on February 24, 2020, in Fort Myers, Florida. The acquisition of Maeda took
Minnesota longer than anticipated. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
From The Asian Reporter, V30, #04 (March 2, 2020), page 8.
Kenta Maeda joins Twins rotation after week in limbo
FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) — The acquisition of Kenta Maeda took the Minnesota
Twins longer than they anticipated.
The trade that was made to get him, the team believes, will be well worth the
wait and the price.
"We made a lot of decisions this offseason to invest in the now," Twins
president of baseball operations Derek Falvey said. "Now we also get a pitcher
here who we think is going to impact us now and beyond."
Maeda joined the AL Central champions three days after the Twins finalized
the deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers and more than a week after the initial
agreement on the three-team trade that also involved the Boston Red Sox was
The move was the latest by the Twins in demonstration of their desire to play
deeper into October. Earlier this year, they signed third baseman Josh Donaldson
to the biggest free agent contract in club history, a four-year deal worth $92
million. They’ve also added free agent pitchers Homer Bailey, Rich Hill, and
Tyler Clippard, catcher Alex Avila, and re-signed pitchers Jake Odorizzi,
Michael Pineda, and Sergio Romo.
The Twins have already declared Maeda will be a starter for them in their
attempt to repeat as division champions. Maeda, who went 10-8 with a 4.04 ERA in
153 2/3 innings in 2019, spent the past few seasons in Los Angeles shuffling
back and forth between the rotation and the bullpen. His addition will be
especially helpful during the first half of the season, with Pineda completing a
suspension until mid-May and Hill rehabilitating from elbow surgery until
sometime in June or July.
"Adding Maeda to our group is huge," Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. "It’s
something we’re very excited about to have a guy that has this type of ability,
that has this type of experience. To be able to plug him in to a situation where
he seems to be excited about what’s going on and our plans for him and the
opportunity, we’re extremely happy to have him."
Though moving spring training sites from Arizona to Florida on short notice
was a short-term hassle, Maeda said, he was pleased to be with his new team. The
opportunity to be a full-time starter was what he sought.
"Practice wise, it’s the same routine, just as you would for any other year,"
he said through an interpreter.
Maeda was acquired with minor league catcher Jair Camargo for right-hander
Brusdar Graterol, minor league outfielder Luke Raley, and Minnesota’s
competitive balance round B pick in this year’s amateur draft, the 67th overall
choice. Graterol was the organization’s top pitching prospect, but the
opportunity to add a proven starter at a below-market-value cost was too good to
The Dodgers also agreed to pay the Twins $3 million to cover part of Maeda’s
salary and reimburse them for up to $7 million of his earned bonuses, according
to salary information obtained by The Associated Press.
Maeda has a unique contract that has four seasons remaining on it, an
eight-year deal with $25 million guaranteed he signed with the Dodgers upon
arriving from Japan.
The discounted yet heavily incentivized contract, designed because of elbow
irregularities discovered during his initial medical review, carried a maximum
value of $106.2 million had he logged at least 32 starts and 200 innings per
year. The Dodgers had a deep enough rotation to use Maeda out of the bullpen
sometimes and the pitcher spent some time on the injured list, so Maeda only
earned 65% of the maximum value of his deal over four seasons with Los Angeles.
Maeda’s maximum cost to the Twins would be $3,713,500 this year if he earns
$13.15 million, his total if he reaches all his roster and performance and bonus
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