The Scott Kazmir signing isn’t going to be it for the Los Angeles Dodgers:
— Christopher meola (@DfineNrmLC) December 31, 2015
Hearing from a baseball source, kenta maeda and dodgers are in agreement. No word on $. @DfineNrmLC all over this one
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) December 31, 2015
Told Maeda agreement with #Dodgers is complicated and at least 5 yrs, and loaded with performance bonuses.
— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) December 31, 2015
Given how uniquely structured Kazmir’s deal was, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to learn that Maeda’s deal is not only loaded with bonuses, but also perhaps team options, vesting options, player options, and opt-outs. ALL THE CONTRACT TERMS!
Maeda, who was posted by his team in Japan last month, never developed the kind of buzz or market that we saw a couple years ago with Masahiro Tanaka, but that’s largely because many believe his stuff won’t translate quite as well to MLB. The general belief is that he’s a back-to-middle-of-the-rotation arm, but he’ll still get a healthy deal thanks to his relative youth (28 in April).
As for the Dodgers, you knew they weren’t going to sit back and do nothing this offseason, and, indeed, it now seems clear that, after they were unable to retain Zack Greinke at their price, the plan was always to get one more arm (first Hisashi Iwakuma, then Scott Kazmir) plus Maeda.
Assuming the Maeda deal goes through, they now have a ton of quality depth in a rotation that goes eight deep:
That said, the questions behind Kershaw abound: can Anderson stay healthy again? Will Kazmir and Wood be the guys they were before deadline trades last year, or after? Will Maeda translate to the States? Will Ryu be able to come back from his shoulder surgery? Will McCarthy be able to come back from his elbow surgery? Is Bolsinger for real?
There’s enough quality depth there that, in theory, even if some of those questions are answered in the negative, the rotation will still be good. Positionally, the Dodgers are very solid, and the bullpen is decent (perhaps even further augmented by this depth). They’ve got a good amount of young talent at the upper levels of the minors, ready to step in if there is a need. This is a very good team for 2016.