This offseason, the Los Angeles Dodgers signed talented Japanese right-hander Kenta Maeda to a very team-friendly contract that puts the onus on him to perform well in order to get paid a hefty sum. That’s the type of deal that teams win with, simply because it’s a low-risk move. But there are some high-risk things to be concerned about with Maeda.

During the process to finalize a contact, it was learned that Maeda had some “irregularities” in his physical that could leave the Dodgers supremely concerned about his overall health and impact going forward. And that’s the thing to always remember.

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From Samuel Gomez over at

The transition is hardly seamless (pun intended) as the weight of the baseball in Japan is different, as well as the amount of rest pitchers receive between starts. It is fair to be concerned that Maeda may suffer a similar fate to Masahiro Tanaka or the Dodgers’ own Hyun-Jin Ryu, and succumb to injury.

No two pitchers are alike, but there are similarities that can be drawn from the players before Maeda. The two listed, Tanaka and Ryu, suffered substantial injuries, and that’s the worrisome part about Maeda’s physical. However, that doesn’t mean he can’t be good.

Maeda throws between 89-93 with his fastball, and features a really good slider, decent changeup, and the every-so-often curveball. The slider is his calling card. Maeda went 15-8 with a 2.09 ERA and 175 strikeouts in 206.1 innings last season as a 27-year old in Japan.

The Dodgers are counting on Maeda to be an integral part of their rotation for both now and the future. The growing concern over the structural integrity of his elbow and such is going to be something the team will monitor, but it looks like he’s good to go for the year.

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About The Author

Justin Russo is a 30-year old sports enthusiast who dabbles in all forms of sports talk. Whether that talk revolves around the NBA, NCAA, NFL, NHL, MLB, or other leagues, he has an opinion. He works as a writer for Warriors World, and was formerly a writer and editor for ClipsNation on the SB Nation network. He also is the Editor-in-chief for But The Game Is On: The Beat.

4 Responses

  1. AlwaysCompete

    I believe the reason that Alex Wood is still with LAD is because of the concern over Maeda and Ryu.  I think Wood deserves more than being insurance, but he will have his presence felt before the season is over.  I hope Maeda and Ryu have a complete and successful year, because the Dodgers should then have a successful season hoping to end in a WS championship.  But we all know that injuries do and will occur, and the deeper the organization is, the better the chances of overcoming any injury.  The longer the season goes, the more that the youth may become a factor.

  2. Tmaxster

    AlwaysCompete I agree with you I think Wood is much better than he showed the last quarter of the year with the Dodgers. That being said If Maeda and Ryu are OK he is the odd man out and a very valuable trade piece. As he is is a young Lefty with several years of contract control I think he could net us a couple of very good prospects or be traded with an outfield guy for a position player we do not have a lot of in the Minors say an infielder maybe a 3rd baseman or if they think Seager will move over a SS.


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