Last week, the Dodgers agreed to a contract with Japanese right-hander Kenta Maeda. Maeda's former team, the Hiroshima Carp, made him available for MLB clubs this offseason through the posting process.
According to ESPN's Jerry Crasnick, the deal is being held up by health concerns. The Dodgers found something they didn't like in Maeda's elbow during his pre-signing physical. Crasnick says the two sides are still likely to finalize the contract within the next few days.
Multiple reports indicate Maeda's contract will be for eight years and $25 million, with a ton of incentives as well. Crasnick says the team is aware Maeda may need Tommy John surgery at some point.
According to a source, the Dodgers know that Maeda will require surgery at some point but feel that signing him is still worth it if they can get three or four useful years out of him.
The contract reflects the risk. An eight-year deal worth $25 million comes in at only $3.125 million per season, which is peanuts to the Dodgers. If Maeda stays healthy and pitches well, he'll trigger the incentives and make a lot more money.
Earlier this offseason the Dodgers agreed to a three-year contract with free agent righty Hisashi Iwakuma, only to back away when they found something in his shoulder. Iwakuma later re-signed with the Mariners, taking a one-year contract with two vesting options.
The Dodgers also backed out of an Aroldis Chapman trade after news of his domestic violence incident broke. So far this offseason Los Angeles has lost Zack Greinke, re-signed Brett Anderson and Chase Utley, and signed Scott Kazmir. Maeda will be another rotation addition.
Maeda, 27, missed time with minor elbow injuries in 2013 and 2014. He stayed healthy in 2015 and went 15-8 with a 2.09 ERA for the Carp, earning him his second career Sawamura Award, Japan's Cy Young equivalent.
Hiroshima posted Maeda during the Winter Meetings. His 30-day negotiating period expires later this week, so he and the Dodgers have to wrap up their contract wrap soon.