Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register, citing a Japanese media source, reports that Kenta Maeda was at Dodger Stadium on Thursday, Christmas Eve. As he notes, the deadline for Maeda to sign is January 8.
The Dodgers have yet to bolster a starting rotation that lost Zack Greinke. They appeared to sign Hisashi Iwakuma, but backed out of a deal after seeing the results of his physical. Iwakuma then signed back with the Mariners. Maeda, no doubt, would be a useful addition. The Dodgers would have to pay the Hiroshima Carp — Maeda’s team — $20 million for the right to negotiate, and then they would have to come to terms on a contract. If Maeda and the Dodgers aren’t able to reach an agreement, the Dodgers would get their $20 million back.
Maeda, 27, has spent all eight seasons with Hiroshima in the Japan Central League. He has a career 2.39 ERA with 1,233 strikeouts and 319 walks in 1,509 2/3 innings. Though the numbers are impressive, the competition in Japan isn’t nearly as good as it is in the majors. Per the Davenport Translations, Maeda’s 2.09 ERA and 175/41 K/BB ratio over 206 1/3 innings last season comes out to 4.09 and 110/51 in the majors.