MLB teams will have to wait a bit to sign Japanese pitcher Kenta Maeda
BOCA RATON, Fla. — As Major League Baseball general managers meet here this week to begin the Hot Stove season, one coveted pitcher remains off limits — for now.
While right-hander Kenta Maeda is likely to be available to MLB clubs this winter, the Hiroshima Toyo Carp — his team in the Japanese Central League — have yet to announce publicly that Maeda will be posted. A formal decision isn’t expected until after Maeda and Team Japan complete their participation in the WBSC Premier 12 international tournament, which concludes Nov. 21.
Maeda’s statistics in Nippon Professional Baseball are similar to those Masahiro Tanaka compiled before joining the New York Yankees, although Maeda (unlike Tanaka) has enjoyed the advantage of pitching in the Japanese league without the designated hitter.
Under posting rules revised after the 2013 season, any MLB team would be able to sign Maeda as long as it paid a $20 million release fee. The timing could be advantageous for Maeda to jump to MLB now, with large-market teams like the Yankees, Red Sox, Cubs, Dodgers and Giants all interested in rotation upgrades.