The Detroit Tigers have agreed to terms with free agent pitcher Kenta Maeda, per multiple reports. The deal is reportedly for 2 years, $24 million.
Thus endeth the hibernation that MLB activity appeared to enter into during the Thanksgiving holiday. The Detroit Tigers, coming off of a 78 win season and in need of pitching, pick up the veteran righthander for his age 36 and 37 seasons.
Maeda spent eight years pitching for Hiroshima in the NPB before signing with the Los Angeles Dodgers prior to the 2016 season. Maeda ended up going to the Minnesota Twins in February, 2020, in what was originally part of the Mookie Betts trade, but ended up being a separate trade when the Red Sox balked at the medicals of Brusdar Graterol, the Twins pitching prospect who was to go to Boston (and instead stayed with Los Angeles.
Maeda was great in 2020, putting up a 2.70 ERA in the shortened season and finishing second in the American League Cy Young Award voting. He has made just 42 starts in the past three seasons, however, including missing all of 2022 due to Tommy John surgery.
The free agent market has been fairly slow thusfar, with the one big move being Aaron Nola returning to Philadelphia. St. Louis signed Kyle Gibson and Lance Lynn to one year deals, and this signing is a similar type of transaction — a team coming off a bad year, that is desperate for starting pitching help, locking up a lower-end free agent to a relatively inexpensive deal.