The Los Angeles Dodgers and Minnesota agreed to a trade in February ahead of 2020 spring training. It was a trade between a total of four players and the right to be nominated later.
Kenta Maeda (35), a former winner of Japan’s Sawamura Award and known as a reliable pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers between starters and bullpens, also wore a Minnesota uniform at the time of the trade. It is also a bit interesting that the two sides are at odds over this trade process. Maeda later said, “I was proud of being a starting pitcher, so I asked for a trade.” The Dodgers, on the other hand, had nothing to say about it.
One of the best pitchers in Japan, Maeda, signed a contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers ahead of 2016 and stepped onto the major league stage. Maeda, who had an elbow issue at the time, received only $25 million in guarantees for eight years, but instead put a huge amount of incentives into the topic. And much of that incentive depended on the number of starts and innings. So, Maeda may not have been dissatisfied when he went to the bullpen due to the team’s mound circumstances.
Maeda appeared in 137 games for the Dodgers, 103 of which were starts. From 2018 to 2019, however, his bullpen appearances increased. After moving to Minnesota, he got the starting job he wanted. He was a starter in both 2020 and 2021. Maeda’s dream seemed to come true.
However, the elbow ligament was damaged and he was on the operating table, and in 2022, he could not play a single game and had to focus only on rehabilitation. Of course, I didn’t get a penny of incentive. He was only able to collect about $3.15 million in guaranteed money. Compared to his usual contracts, his financial losses were staggering.
After returning from surgery, he joined the Minnesota starting rotation this year, but sluggishness and injuries overlapped at the beginning of the season. In his first four games, he threw just 16 innings, went 4 without a win, and had an earned run average of 9.00. On April 27, against the New York Yankees, the worst performance was 3 innings, 11 hits and 10 runs. During this match, he was placed on the injured list due to triceps pain.
▲ Maeda, who will be eligible for free agency after this season, must prove his worth as a starting pitcher.
Maeda also gets the qualification as a free agent (FA) after this season. So, grades are important this year. It is because it is the last FA jackpot opportunity in his life. But the situation is not rosy. After the absence of Maeda and Tyler Marley, Minnesota added Bailey Over and Louis Barland to the rotation to fill the gap. And as the two performed well, the regret for Maeda disappeared.
Currently, Minnesota’s rotation has a solid three starter in Joe Ryan behind a powerful one-two punch in Pablo Lopez and Sonny Gray. On top of that, with Over and Baland throwing well, it became difficult to decide who to take out when Maeda returned. As a result, there is even a prospect that Maeda can go back to the bullpen locally.
Major League Trade Rumors said, “A healthy Maeda would give Minnesota a possible sixth candidate to start, but injuries tend to solve these concerns.” “If everyone is healthy, Minnesota won’t pitch last season. He may send Maeda to the bullpen to monitor his workload.”안전놀이터
Maeda did not show clear results before his injury, so it is an ambiguous situation. Maeda plans to pitch on the mound from the weekend. After seeing his achievements, he explores the timing of his return to the major leagues. It will be interesting to see what Minnesota will decide on Maeda.