The Nippon Professional Baseball has seem to make a name for itself statewide by giving us two different front line starters. In 2012 Yu Darvish made his way to the MLB and lit it on fire, this past season Masahiro Tanaka signed a massive 7 year $155 million contract to be a star with the Yankees. Kenta Maeda could possibly be the next in line to be the next great starter from Japan. Although Maeda has not been official posted by the Hiroshima Toyo Carp, his Japanese team, it is widely speculated that he will be posted this offseason.
While experts agree his upside does not match that of Darvish’s or Tanaka’s, but still has the potential to be a solid number two starter on a contender. Statically 2014 was a little bit of a down year for Maeda, putting up a 11-9 record in 28 starts while sporting a 2.60 ERA; in his 7 seasons with Hiroshima, Maeda owns a 82-59 record with a 2.44 ERA.It is all but guaranteed there will be multiple teams will agree to the maximum $20 million posting fee, making for an interesting bidding war for his services.
Seeing as how the Astros just missed out on signing Masahiro Tanaka last offseason, Tanaka said himself that he seriously considered the Astros offer before he decided to sign with the Yankees, they are bound to be serious players for Maeda. With hindsight always being 20/20 the Astros would have been more than willing to spend a few more million dollars for the success Tanaka brought, and it seems like the Astros do not want to miss out on another talent like that. In fact, Tim Diekers of MLBtraderumors.com predicted that the Astros would sign Maeda.
A couple of factors playing against Maeda and a possible $100+ million contract, is that he lacks the track record and raw stuff that both Darvish and Tanaka brought with them. Tanaka brought his devastating cutter with him, while Darvish brought his umpteen different pitches tokeep baffling hitters, but Maeda’s knock could be the Astros’ gain. The Astros have the chance to sign a potential front line starter for far cheaper than it would cost to bring Max Scherzer or Jon Lester.
While it is hard to hear for most fans, it seems as though the Astros are destined for another year of bargain bin free agent shopping, although this just might be the year that Lunhow makes a surprise signing, granted the Astros have not shied away from making international free agents contract offers these past few years.