Tigers Sign Japanese RHP Kenta Maeda to $24M, 2-year Contract to Win Games and Mentor Young Pitchers
14:01 JST, November 30, 2023
DETROIT (AP) — Kenta Maeda gave the Detroit Tigers what they were looking for in free agency, a veteran talented enough to bolster their rotation with an approach they want pitchers on model on the mound.
We think he’s going to both help us win games and influence our young starters, general manager Scott Harris said Tuesday after Detroit and the 35-year-old Japanese right hander finalized a $24 million, two-year contract.
Maeda joins a projected rotation with pitchers in their 20s, a group that potentially includes Matt Manning, Alex Faedo, Reese Olson, Tarik Skubal, Joey Wentz and perhaps Casey Mize.
He does a lot of things that we really like, and hope will rub off on our young starters, Harris said.
Harris, entering his second full season in charge of the franchise, may add more players to the mound.
You’ll never hear me say we have enough pitching, he said.
Maeda is 65-49 with a 3.92 ERA in 155 starts and 35 relief outings for the Los Angeles Dodgers and Minnesota.
He spent the past three years with the Twins and was 6-8 with a 4.23 ERA in 20 starts and one relief appearance this year in his return from Tommy John surgery two-plus years ago.
Harris said Maeda’s velocity returned to pre-surgery levels, giving him even more confidence that it was wise to sign him. Maeda’s four-seam fastball averaged 90.9 mph this year, up from 90.8 mph in 2021 but down from a peak of 92.3 mph in 2018.
We felt pretty comfortable with offering two years, he said. “It gives gives us a little bit more continuity in our rotation.”
As part of the deal, Maeda will donate $70,000 next year and $50,000 in 2025 to the team’s charitable foundation.
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