Kenta Maeda requested trade from Dodgers

Kenta Maeda
Getty Images

New Twins starter Kenta Maeda posted a video on YouTube in which he says that he asked the Dodgers for a trade (h/t to Dylan Hernandez for the translation). Maeda eventually got his wish when he was traded to Minnesota just before the start of camp.

The news is hardly shocking. Maeda had been with the Dodgers since 2016, when he made the jump to MLB from the Japanese league. He signed an eight-year deal with a base salary of just $25 million, with a lot more money being tied up in performance incentives. The full details of Maeda’s deal can be found here at Cot’s Baseball Contracts (a fantastic resource) but basically, Maeda gets fairly substantial bonuses tied to both the number of games he starts and the amount of innings he pitches. It’s exactly the sort of contract that the MLBPA doesn’t like to see. Baseball money is guaranteed, except in deals like this one.

So, lo and behold, the Dodgers started limiting the number of games Maeda worked as a starter, instead deploying him more and more often as a reliever. And to be clear, Maeda’s damn good when he’s coming out of the bullpen. He’s been used that way in the playoffs for the last few years, and he’s been great. Yet by all accounts, Maeda made it clear to the Dodgers that he wanted to be a starter. Being a starter is a point of pride for pitchers, and moreover, that’s how he gets his money.

Players are expected to do what’s necessary for the team to win, but there’s also an expected amount of good faith that goes into the relationships between players and teams. It sure looks like the uber-wealthy Dodgers jerked Maeda around to save some cash. It’s no wonder that he was unhappy there, and it’s no wonder that he requested a trade.

This sort of cynical philosophy is right up the Dodgers’ alley. The new IL rule (10 days for position players, 15 for pitchers) was basically created to stop the Dodgers from fudging IL stints for their pitchers to conserve innings and draw on their considerable depth at Triple-A. They’re the brain geniuses who gave us crimes.xlsx. Of course they used Maeda’s contract against him.

The Twins are going to use Maeda in the rotation, which means he should have every chance to hit those incentives. And not for nothing, he gets to do that with a team that won more than 100 games last year, just like the Dodgers.

Good for him. Hopefully the Twins don’t start playing with his earnings too.

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Rutschman has five hits in opener, Orioles outlast Red Sox 10-9

Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

BOSTON – The last time Adley Rutschman recalls feeling this level of emotion on a baseball field was playing in front of intimate, 5,000-seat crowds in college at Oregon State.

He trumped that experience at Fenway Park on Thursday in his first career opening day start.

“This blows that out of the water,” Rutschman said.

Rutschman became the first catcher in major league history with five hits in an opener, and the Baltimore Orioles survived a wild ninth inning to beat the Boston Red Sox 10-9.

“To have that close game in the ninth inning and the crowd get so loud. You kind of sit there and say, ‘This is pretty cool,’” said Rutschman, the top overall pick in the 2019 draft.

Rutschman – who debuted for the Orioles last May and quickly became indispensable to the young, resurgent club – homered in his first at-bat and finished 5-for-5 with a career-best four RBIs and a walk on a chilly day at Fenway Park, with a temperature of 38 degrees at first pitch.

Ramon Urias hit a two-run homer for Baltimore, which finished with 15 hits, nine walks and five stolen bases.

Kyle Gibson (1-0) allowed four runs and six hits over five-plus innings to earn his first opening-day victory since his 2021 All-Star season with Texas. Gibson gave up an RBI groundout in the first inning before retiring nine straight Red Sox hitters.

The Orioles nearly gave the game away in the ninth.

With Baltimore leading 10-7, closer Félix Bautista walked pinch-hitter Raimel Tapia. Alex Verdugo followed with a single and advanced to second on an error by center fielder Cedric Mullins.

Rafael Devers struck out. Justin Turner then reached on an infield single to third when Urias’ throw was wide, scoring Tapia. Masataka Yoshida grounded to shortstop Jorge Mateo, who stepped on second for the force but threw wildly to first, allowing Verdugo to score.

Bautista struck out Adam Duvall on three pitches to end it and earn the save.

The Orioles scored four runs in the fourth and three in the fifth to take an 8-2 lead. Baltimore led 10-4 before Bryan Baker allowed three runs in the eighth to give the Red Sox some hope.

The eighth could have been even better for the Red Sox had Devers, who led off the inning, not become the first player in major league history to strike out on a pitch clock violation. Devers was looking down and kicking debris off his cleats when umpire Lance Barksdale signaled a violation that resulted in strike three.

“There’s no excuse,” said Alex Cora, who dropped to 0-5 in opening-day games as Boston’s manager. “They know the rules.”

Boston offseason addition and two-time Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber (0-1) struggled in his Fenway debut, surrendering five runs on six hits and four walks in 3 1/3 innings.

“Less than ideal,” Kluber said. “Didn’t turn out the way I would have hoped for.”


Red Sox: Christian Arroyo stayed in the game after taking an inadvertent cleat to the side of his head in the second inning. Arroyo was applying a tag to Rutschman at second base as he attempted to stretch out a single. Rutschman’s leg flipped over as he slid awkwardly. … LHP James Paxton was placed on the 15-day inured list (retroactive to March 27) with a strained right hamstring.


Rutschman, one of six Baltimore players making his first opening-day appearance, became the youngest Oriole to homer in his first opening-day at-bat since Cal Ripken Jr. in 1984.


The Orioles took advantage of MLB’s bigger bases – going from 15- to 18-inch squares – that are being used for the first time this season. Baltimore hadn’t stolen five bases in a game since last June 24 against the White Sox. Mullins and Jorge Mateo swiped two bags apiece, and Adam Frazier got a huge jump on his steal against reliever Ryan Brasier. There was nothing Boston catcher Reese McGuire could do to stop them and on the majority of Baltimore’s steals, he didn’t bother to throw.


Right-hander Kaleb Ort and Tapia earned Boston’s final two roster spots to open the season. Tapia got the nod over Jarren Duran, who was sent down to Triple-A Worcester. Ort pitched a scoreless sixth with one strikeout Thursday.


Orioles: RHP Dean Kremer will make is sixth career start against Boston when the three-game series resumes on Saturday. In 11 road starts last season, he went 5-3 with a 3.63 ERA.

Red Sox: LHP Chris Sale, who has pitched in only 11 games over the past three years due to injuries, is set to begin his seventh season in Boston.