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kenta maedaWhile everyone awaits word on whether Masahiro Tanaka will be posted this offseason – we still might not know for another week, by the way – there is another 25-year-old righty who could soon make the jump.

Kenta Maeda is often regarded as the second best starting pitcher in Japan, behind Tanaka, and Ben Badler reports that teams are eyeing Maeda closely. Like Tanaka, his rights are controlled by his team in Japan, but he recently told the Japanese media that he’d like the chance to come pitch in the States. Would his team honor that desire and simultaneously cash in? We’ll see.

I’ve written about Maeda before, but a lot of that is neutered by the anticipated $20 million max bid system. It seems likely that Maeda’s team could get at least one max bid, even if Tanaka is also out there, and then Maeda would simply get a much smaller contract than Tanaka is expected to get.

You can read Badler’s piece for some anonymous takes on Maeda, who sounds like a possible back-of-the-rotation type in the big leagues, but with some upside. His numbers in the NPB, as you’d expect, are quite good.

If Maeda, together with Tanaka, is posted, there are a number of implications. First, and most directly, it’s another controllable arm for the Cubs to pursue. Maeda isn’t Tanaka – just as Tanaka isn’t Darvish – but most still believe he’s a big league caliber starter. His price tag would undoubtedly be lower than Tanaka’s, but there can still be value. (Heck, look at Hisashi Iwakuma – there was very little chatter when he came to the States, relatively speaking, and he’s become a stud for the Mariners.)

On the flip side, another arm on the market means another competitor in the Cubs’ efforts to move Jeff Samardzija, should they decide to take the best offer. Of course, Maeda’s presence could also drive down free agent prices, perhaps allowing the Cubs to steal a bargain in January or February, even if they don’t land Tanaka or Maeda.

  • Chad

    I’d like to see the cubs get both of them. However, with all the arms that are becoming available, though not cheap, I don’t see anyway Shark is moved this off-season. Too much supply right now and since everyone wants top dollar the cubs won’t get top dollar for Shark if they can get X, Y, or Z for a similar price.

    • T-Bone

      Id still like to see the Cubs hold onto Shark until the trade deadline. Desperate teams give up more players. Or maybe we can end up working out an extension.

      • T-Bone

        Renteria interview coming up on MLB Network.

    • X The Cubs Fan

      Alot of pitchers, not that much Value.

  • MightyBear

    His fastball is only around 89 and he tops out at 91. Good control and several good offspeed pitches. Sounds like Kyle Hendricks.

    • Rebuilding

      I think we are a long way away from saying Kyle Hendricks has “several good off-speed pitches” on a major league scouting scale

      • Jason P

        Agreed.

      • MightyBear

        Well we’re a long way from saying Maeda has several good offspeed pitches on a major league scouting scale. Neither is a major leaguer. And I personally don’t think Hendricks is “a long way away”.

  • Frank

    Just sign both of them. When the renovations begin, add a sushi bar and we’re all set.

  • Griff

    Tanaka, Kemp, Eaton, B. Anderson, Storen. In order of who I’d like to acquire. My guess we get none of them. Shows how much I know about baseball and building a winner. TOR pitcher, cleanup right handed bater, Lead off man, Possible #2, #3 starter, and closer.

    • MightyBear

      Yeah you’ll get nothing and like it.

    • Chad

      Eaton is off the table as he has been traded to the White Sox. I think there are medical issues with Anderson as Rockies were reportedly close to a deal but backed off due to the medicals. I like Kemp and Anderson if healthy, I like those a lot, and I could see Tanaka as well being a good fit. I have read the Storen talks are dead, Nats asking too much for him

  • Jon

    White Sox just got Adam Eaton from Arizona for Hector Santiago

    • frank

      Hahn: Trade Santiago? Yes, I’m sure you’re right. I’m sure that’s the thing to do . . .

  • Blackhawks1963

    Kenta Maeda sounds like right-handed version of Kei Igawa. I’ll defer to the Cub scouting and evaluation process.

  • CubsFanSaxMan

    SIGN ALL THE JAPANESE PITCHERS!!

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