The Arizona Diamondbacks‘ new general manager Dave Stewart told MLB Network Radio that he will not make a big boom in free agency by signing one of the top players on the market. Instead, he thinks he has a better chance to look at Japanese starting pitcher Kenta Maeda over Max Scherzer, Jon Lester, and James Shields.
The biggest issue is Maeda has still not been posted by his Japanese club, Hiroshima Toyo Carp. Until he is posted, he will not be able to sign with a Major League club.
He won the 2010 Sawamura Award with a record of 15-8 and a 2.21 ERA, with 174 strikeouts in 215 and 2/3 innings, and six complete games with two shutouts. He also became the youngest pitcher in Japanese baseball history to achieve the pitching Triple Crown and won a Gold Glove in the same year. He has pitched for seven years in Japan. 2.44 ERA, 1,058 strikeouts in 1,303 1/3 innings. He’s has thrown 23 complete games with 10 of those being shutouts.
The 26-year-old has potential to become a front-end starter like Yu Darvish, Masahiro Tanaka and Hisashi Iwakuma. He should be able to draw intrest from several big league clubs if his current Japanese team cuts ties with him.
Maeda will pitch against the MLB All-Stars taking place in Japan next week. It is evident that scouts will be watching to see how effective he is against big-league talent at this time in his career as a pitcher.