Top Five Potential Fits for Kenta Maeda

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On Thursday, it was announced that the Hiroshima Carp would be posting Japanese right-hander Kenta Maeda for Major League Baseball clubs to bid on this winter. Maeda is 97-67 in Japan with a 2.39 ERA. The diminutive 154-pounder has already logged over 1,500 innings in professional baseball.

Maeda had first requested to be posted last week, and will soon be made available. According to Ben Badler of Baseball America, it is expected that Maeda will be posted for the maximum $20 million bid. This means that any team can post up to that amount, and whatever team or teams meet that price are able to negotiate with Maeda and his agent. Following negotiations, Maeda is free to sign with whatever team that met the posting fee.

Maeda will be 28 years old this year and is widely considered to be one of the best pitchers in all of Japan. Maeda, coming off a season in which he won Japan’s equivalent of the Cy Young, the Sawamura Award, is one of the more intriguing free agent pitching options this offseason. At only 28 years young, Maeda represents one of the youngest pitchers on the market and does not come with draft pick compensation like several other big name free agent pitchers.

Maeda had a 2.09 ERA in Japan last season, his sixth consecutive season with an ERA under 2.60, and threw over 200 innings while striking out just under eight batters per nine innings and walking just under two batters per nine. Maeda has a track record of dominance over the last several years in Japan and would be a good candidate to make the jump to the MLB and have some success, such as the likes of Masahiro Tanaka and Yu Darvish.

The following are the five (really six) teams most likely to bid on, and potentially sign, the free agent from Japan.

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