LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — The Los Angeles Dodgers announced the signing of pitcher Kenta Maeda to an eight-year contract Thursday.
Maeda, 27, who becomes the Dodgers’ only healthy right-hander in an otherwise all-lefty rotation, was introduced to the media today at a 1:00 p.m. press conference at Dodger Stadium.
In 2010, he became the youngest pitcher in Japan baseball history to record a pitching triple crown with 15 wins (15-8), a 2.21 ERA and 174 strikeouts.
Maeda led the Japanese Central League with 15 wins in 2015 with the Hiroshima Carp, going 15-8 with a 2.09 ERA in 29 starts, to win his second-career Sawamura Award, given to the league’s best pitcher.
In eight professional seasons with Hiroshima (2008-15), Maeda compiled a 97-67 record with a 2.39 ERA in 218 games (217 starts), including 28 complete games and 10 shutouts.
The signing marks Maeda as the eighth Japanese player in Dodger history, joining Hideo Nomo (1995-98, 2002-04), Kazuhisa Ishii (2002-04), Masao Kida (2003-04), Norihiro Nakamura (2005), former player (2002-04) and current manager Dave Roberts, Takashi Saito (2006-07) and Hiroki Kuroda (2008-11).
“We are excited to be bringing Kenta Maeda into the Dodger organization,” said Dodger President of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman. “We have had the chance to scout him extensively in Japan and on the international stage and believe he has all the tools to be a successful Major League starting pitcher. We were honored to hear of his strong desire to be a Dodger and that only added to our motivation to bring him on board. We look forward to Kenta adding another chapter to the Dodgers’ global legacy and to him strengthening our ballclub in the years ahead.”
The franchise’s ties with Japan date back to 1956, when the Dodgers made their first of three post-season tours of the country. The club is widely credited for starting the influx of talent from Japan to the Major Leagues with the historic signing of Nomo in 1995.