How does a big time free agent signing from overseas get off on the right foot with his new team? By showing up early to camp. That’s exactly what right-hander Kenta Maeda of the Los Angeles Dodgers did.
Based on a tweeted picture from a couple of hours ago, Maeda showed up early to Camelback Ranch in Arizona in preparation for Spring Training. That’s a truly great thing to see out of a prized offseason acquisition.
From Joseph Kim’s (@blackwings2011) official Twitter account:
— Joseph Kim (@blackwings2011) February 16, 2016
Maeda had a 2.09 ERA in 206.1 innings last year in Japan while striking out 175 batters and walking only 41. In his Japanese career, Maeda has compiled a 97-67 record with a 2.39 ERA and 1233 strikeouts in 1509.2 innings.
On January 7th, the Dodgers and Maeda finalized an interesting and complex contract that guarantees the talented Osaka native just $25 million. The contract could net Maeda up to $90.2 million over its lifetime.
The fact that Maeda has shown up early to camp is huge news simply because it shows that money isn’t the motivating factor above all else. It looks like Maeda wants to prove to the Dodgers that they made the right decision, and he intends on proving them right.
While Maeda has some questions regarding his pitching elbow and arm, it doesn’t seem to be a major detraction to his career at this point. Whether it turns out to be something of note is hard to say, however he does look like a hard worker and that’s half the battle.
The Dodgers open up the season Monday, April 4 against the San Diego Padres. Based on the way the rotation looks like it might be falling, Maeda could be making his Major League debut on April 6. Be on the lookout for him. It should be a “must watch” event.