News: Detroit Tigers sign Kenta Maeda to a two-year deal.
The Detroit Tigers have turned up heat, and the hot stove is alive once again. In a move that may not shock many, the Tigers finally pulled the trigger on an off-season free agent. Free-agent dominoes have not fallen a ton.
The Detroit Tigers have reportedly agreed to a two-year, $ 24 million contract with right-handed pitcher Kenta Maeda. It's the first move of the off-season in a bit after the Tigers made a flurry of off-season moves and then traded for Mark Canha in their deal with the Brewers.
The rumor mill has been churning lately around Maeda. The Tigers were rumored to be targeting Maeda this week. The two sides were working toward a deal, and after Thanksgiving, the Tigers reportedly took things a step further. Talks were intensifying, and the pieces seemingly fell into place.
Detroit was able to work out a deal with the 35-year-old right-handed pitcher. Maeda has spent the last few seasons with the Minnesota Twins organization. In 2023, Maeda logged 20 starts, with one appearance out of the bullpen. He accumulated 104.1 innings pitched, with a 4.23 ERA and a 1.17 WHIP. He had 28 walks and 117 strikeouts.
The Tigers will get a right-handed pitcher who can help bolster the rotation moving forward. He's averaging $12 million a year to be someone who eats up innings in the middle of the rotation. Maeda is a solid addition; even being a 35-year-old arm, it's not Mike Pelfrey or Jordan Zimmermann. So, Maeda brings value to the table with the potential to offer a benefit.
In addition, depending on how the 2024 and 2025 seasons go, Maeda could have trade value. He also has a good chance of locking down a role in the bullpen. Furthermore, his pitch mix alone gives him value. While some may not put much stock in a single pitch, Maeda's splitter will be a real asset for Detroit when he toes the rubber.
Beyond Maeda and his performance on his own, the Tigers believe that Maeda will bring some serious value to Detroit, but also value off the field. Maeda, being a Japanese native, could be a helpful piece of the puzzle moving forward. The Tigers may be able to make a bigger play for Yoshinobu Yamamoto with Maeda in town.
It's pure speculation, but the Tigers have seemingly made a point of wanting to strengthen their ties with Japanese-born players.