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Arizona Diamondbacks Interested in Kenta Maeda?

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With free agency open for business, expect names to be thrown around at a dizzying pace. The Arizona Diamondbacks are no exception as they will be linked to at least half a dozen starting pitchers over the next 30 to 60 days. We at venomstrikes have either profiled a specific player that may interest the team or have given a list of names that they may try to target. However, one major outlet has given a bold prediction as to who they think the D-backs will come away with this offseason.

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MLBtraderumors.com believes that Arizona will sign Japanese right-handed pitcher Kenta Maeda. This is assuming Maeda’s team, the Hiroshima Carp, decides to post him. If the Carp decides to set him free, mlbtraderumors ranks him as the 14th best free agent on the market. Maeda turns 28 in April and has pitched eight seasons for Hiroshima. The 6-foot, 160 pound Maeda has been on the radar of several Major League teams since last November when he sparkled against a team full of MLB players. He has a career mark of 97-67 with an ERA of 2.39. In 2015, Maeda was 15-8 with a 2.08 ERA in 206 1/3 innings pitched. He allowed only 41 walks while striking out 175 batters. His best season for the Carp was in 2012 when he pitched to a 1.53 ERA while going 14-7.

Almost one year ago, D-backs’ general manager Dave Stewart was on MLB Network and was asked what was his team’s plan for the offseason. Maeda’s name was brought up at one point during the segment. Here is what Stewart had to say:

"I love Maeda, I love him. We have a lot of video and film and we have people who have seen him. We think that he’s got a chance to be very successful in Major League Baseball. We’re going to try to be in on the market when he does post, if he does post."

It sounds as though Arizona is going to be hot and heavy for the Japanese star this Fall, if he indeed is made available. There is a cap of $20 million dollars to the posting fee giving a team like the D-backs an even footing at least in the beginning of the bidding process. MLBtraderumors believes that the Snakes are going to get Maeda to agree to a five-year, $60 million dollar contract on top of the $20 million dollar posting fee. The question is, will that be the only free agent the team signs during the offseason?

Next: Arizona Diamondbacks Prospect Review: Dansby Swanson

The D-backs have been down this Japanese road before having supposedly bid $140 million dollars for Masahiro Tanaka, who eventually signed with the New York Yankees. If they believe Madea is the real deal and is just as successful as Yasmany Tomas was in 2015, then the D-backs’ starting rotation got that much better.

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