Kenta Maeda Inks Deal with Tigers

Kenta Maeda
(Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

Right-hander Kenta Maeda has agreed to terms on a deal with the Detroit Tigers. News of the pending contract between the two sides was first reported by Jon Heyman of the New York Post on Sunday evening. The deal will become official when he passes a physical, per Evan Petzold of the Detroit Free Press. Maeda’s contract is said to be worth $24 million in guaranteed money over two years. The Tigers’ signing of Kenta Maeda ensures that he will remain in the AL Central.

From Ally to Foe

Reports emerged earlier in the week linking Maeda and the Tigers, though the Minnesota Twins, Maeda’s former team, maintained interest. The Tigers will be the third team that Maeda has played for in his seven-year career. He has previously spent time with the Los Angeles Dodgers and the aforementioned Twins, who will now have to deal with Maeda as an opponent on a division rival.

Fresh Contract for Maeda

This fall marked the end of the eight-year, $25 million deal Maeda signed with the Dodgers back in January 2016. That was the year that Maeda first came to the majors from Nippon Professional Baseball in Japan. His earning power at the time was somewhat limited due to some concerns over his elbow. However, he didn’t have any major arm-related injury issues over four years in Los Angeles before the Dodgers dealt him to the Twins during the 2019-20 offseason.

Maeda responded with an outstanding performance in the pandemic-shortened campaign, posting a 2.70 ERA in 66 2/3 innings and finishing second in AL Cy Young Award voting. He missed all of 2022 while recovering from Tommy John surgery. In 2023, Maeda finished with a record of 6–8 with an ERA of 4.23 over 21 games for the Twins. He started 20 of those games. In a span of 121 1/3 innings, he struck out 117, allowed 36 walks, and had a WHIP of 1.169.

The signing of Kenta Maeda appears to be the first significant offseason move for the Tigers. They finished the 2023 season with a record of 78–84, good enough for second place in the AL Central, nine games behind the division-winning Twins.

 

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