Red Sox make smart decision to pass on Japanese pitcher Kenta Maeda


Japanese pitcher Kenta Maeda will be offered to Major League teams who post 20 million dollars, but the Red Sox are not interested.

This week, the Hiroshima Carp made it official – dynamic pitcher Kenta Maeda will be offered to Major League teams.The way the rules are now constructed, any team that wishes to be a part of negotiations with the Japanese starter must post twenty million dollars, which is now the maximum amount. Those clubs then have up to thirty days to come to terms on a deal with Maeda. Per MLB Trade Rumors, projections have Maeda locking up a five year deal totaling around 60 million dollars (12 million per year).

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Before Sox fans get too excited, or nervous considering some of their history with these posting fee free agents, early reports from WEEI’s Rob Bradford have already emerged that Boston did not offer the posting fee. The Red Sox were mentioned as a possible suitor months ago when it was first rumored that Maeda may be making his way to the U.S. Whether there was any truth to those rumors or if it was just speculation based on the Red Sox usually getting involved, we won’t ever know, but we do know that Maeda has garnered a good deal of interest from the Giants, Diamondbacks, Yankees, Cardinals, etc.

Maeda has been pitching for the Carp since 2008 and has a career record of 97-67 with a 2.39 ERA. He supposedly has about five pitches in his arsenal including a fastball in the low 90’s with some movement, although according to Bradford, John Farrell himself has discussed how Maeda has more to his fastball than some have reported previously.

As much as another Japanese pitcher coming to Boston would be interesting, it’s not difficult to figure out why Boston decided to pass on Maeda. He will be 28 years old by the time the 2016 gets underway and has a good amount of tread on him. He made 29 starts last season for the Carp and has pitched a good amount of innings. Also, if his fastball tops out in the mid 90’s now, it will only diminish in the next few seasons. He is about six feet tall and 150 pounds so he’s certainly not a power pitcher by any means.

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Most analysts project Maeda as a number three or four, which may not worth the posting fee and the rat race to actually get him signed. The Red Sox did not exactly reap the benefits of the Daisuke Matsuzaka sweepstakes and the jury is out on the Rusney Castillo signing. It can be difficult to figure out which guys will be able to make the transition to big league ball, especially pitchers. Not to mention the Sox just spent a ton on new ace David Price and have a payroll over 200 million dollars, so it’s easy to see why they wouldn’t want to potentially throw 20 million dollars away.

The glass-half-empty Sox fan will look at it as a possible missed opportunity to add another reliable arm to the rotation, while the glass-half-full Sox fan may choose to think this is just another example of how the Sox front office believes their rotation is set and ready to go. Either way, all eyes will be on Maeda in 2016 to see if he can compare to the Yu Davish’s and Masahiro Tanaka’s of the world.