Kenta Maeda is considered one of the top pitching talents in Japan and has expressed a strong desire to join a Major League Baseball team. But his club in Nippon Professional Baseball, the Hiroshima Carp, again refused to post him this winter and the 26-year-old has now officially re-signed with Hiroshima for the 2015 season, according to the Japan Times.
Maeda boasts a 2.44 ERA and 1.05 WHIP in 1,303 1/3 career NPB innings and he was a standout for Team Japan at the 2013 World Baseball Classic.
The native of Senboku-gun can’t become an unrestricted free agent until after the 2017 season. Some thought he might command over $100 million from an MLB team if posted this winter.
19-year-old infield prospect Yoan Moncada defected from his native Cuba over the summer and was declared a free agent by Major League Baseball back in mid-November, but he is still waiting for official clearance from the United States’ Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) and won’t be able to start negotiating with teams until he gets that clearance.
It should happen pretty soon, as MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez is hearing Moncada could begin private workouts with clubs within the next two weeks.
Because of his age and lack of experience in a professional league, the much-hyped Moncada is subject to MLB’s international signing regulations — meaning the team that winds up landing him will likely have to pay big money in penalties to outbid the others. Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports wrote in early November that Moncada’s first contract could be worth $40 million guaranteed. Add in the penalties for going over the international spending cap and we could be talking about a total expenditure of nearly $80 million.
According to Ben Badler of Baseball America, the Braves, Red Sox, Yankees, Tigers, Giants, Rays, Padres, and Cubs were among the teams present at Moncada’s showcase earlier this winter in Guatemala.
MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez reports that Cuban infield prospect Roberto Baldoquin has passed his physical and officially signed with the Angels. The two sides initially agreed to a deal with an $8 million signing bonus in early November.
Baldoquin, 20, is expected to start the season in the minor leagues for the Angels. The club views him as a shortstop and as such, Baldoquin could take over at the position when Erick Aybar’s contract expires after the 2016 season.
Jim Allen of the Kyodo News reports that the Hiroshima Carp have informed right-handed starter Kenta Maeda that he will not be posted this offseason.
Maeda, 26, had a 2.56 ERA and a 154/40 K/BB ratio in 179 innings this season for the Hiroshima Carp. He is not the hardest thrower around — low 90s is where he tops out — but he profiles as a back-of-the-rotation starter at the moment. Many thought this may be the year he would be allowed to come to play in the U.S. but, welp, no.
He will be an unrestricted free agent after the 2017 season.
Last week the Braves signed 25-year-old Cuban outfielder Dian Toscano and now we know the details, with Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com reporting that he’ll get $6 million over four years. Atlanta will also have a fifth-year team option built into the contract, which would bring the total value to $7.5 million.
At the time of the signing several sources described Toscano as a low-upside player who might be best suited for a fourth outfielder gig, but clearly the Braves think he has the potential to be a productive regular.
His power is limited, but he’s posted strong batting averages with good strike-zone control in Cuba and figures to be a corner outfielder in the majors.