The thinking is pretty straightforward: The Dodgers need a right-handed starter; Kenta Maeda needs a team willing to fork up the posting fee to come pitch in the states. A signing makes sense for both sides, given what they offer each other.
The issue is: Any reporting going on right now feels like speculation based around those two points more than legitimate reporting — which can be difficult given how little the Dodgers leak information and Maeda’s being based across the Pacific Ocean.
In no way am I questioning the integrities of those who are trying to dig up anything they can, only pointing out what might be at work every time the Dodgers are seen as favorites to land free agent or trade target “X”.
Case in point: The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo, who connects the dots with the Dodgers and Maeda.
Maeda, 27, won the equivalent of the Japanese Cy Young this year. Getting him will require a $20 million posting fee and then negotiating the salary, which will be far less than the one of countryman Masahiro Tanaka. A Leake-like five-year, $80 million deal has been bandied about. The scouts feel he’s close to Hiroki Kuroda in style. Right now the Dodgers are seen as the front-runners given their needs. The Dodgers are also likely in pursuit of Kazmir and former Orioles lefthanderWei-Yin Chen, who is reportedly asking for a five-year, $100 million deal. And they have their eyes on the Rays’ Alex Cobb and/or Jake Odorizzi.
The phrases “given their needs” and “also likely in pursuit” are important caveats to add to any reporting the journalist isn’t quite sure about.
Maeda very well might wind up a Dodger, though any Facebook commenter will point to the several other targets who signed elsewhere and somehow blame the front office, which would be fine in a vacuum. We don’t operate in a vacuum, though.
If reports on who the Dodgers are favorites to sign are based too highly on speculation, the narrative that rises from said reports isn’t fully represented.