Rejoice Twins fans! Your favorite team is now the proud guardian of one Kenta Maeda, a slightly-used pitcher from Japan, via the Los Angeles Dodgers. Maeda is a 32-year old righty, going into his fifth MLB season. Prior to coming over to LA, he spent seven years playing for the Hirishimo Toyo Carp of the NPB.
On the mound, he throws a pretty traditional mix of four pitches—a fastball, a slider, a curve, and a changeup. Kyle will have a lot more on the topic in a bit though. The Dodgers have used him as both a starter and a reliever in recent seasons. His contract contains a number of incentives based on innings pitched, so the move to Minnesota is likely very good for his wallet. In his hybrid role in LA, his innings count was usually down in the 120-140 range. Since the Twins will likely use him much more in a starting role, he will likely throw a few more innings. He has a quarter-million dollar bonus for hitting 90 innings pitched, and the same bonus for each additional ten innings, up to 190. If he manages to hit 200 innings, that means an additional $750,000. He also receives incentives for number of starts. He’ll get a million each for his 15th and 20th start. He’ll pick up $1.5 million for hitting 25 starts, and again at 30 and at 32 starts. With all those incentives, his base salary is very team friendly. He makes only three million per year, with a $125,000 signing bonus and $150,000 roster bonus. He’s also on this contract through 2023, giving the Twins some stability along with their coveted payroll flexibility.
Even though he won’t typically bat for the Twins, Maeda will also fit right in with the Bomba squad. Okay, maybe not. But he does have one career MLB home run, in his first ever at-bat at Dodger stadium. He’ll be joining his long-time rotationmate Rich Hill with the Twins, which will hopefully bring an element of comfort into the clubhouse. Hopefully Maeda feels at home right away, and starts to show his personality.
Maeda is known as a bit of a prankster. Maybe Bert Blyleven has a tip or two for him. Maeda’s favorite target with the Dodgers was his translator, Will Ireton, and Maeda especially likes getting the pranks caught on camera. He seems like a Twinkie Town type of player, the kind we haven’t really had in Minnesota since Eduardo Escobar.
Here is a magic trick Michael Cuddyer would be proud of:
And another good jump scare for Ireton: