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Kenta Maeda staying in Japan?

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A potential Red Sox rotation target may not even hit the market in 2014.


The Red Sox have shown interest in Japanese pitcher Kenta Maeda, and vice versa, but word out of Japan is that Maeda may not even hit the market this coming offseason. According to Kaz Nagatsuka, the Carp are backing off the idea of posting Maeda after what was termed a "disappointing" 2014 season.

Now, a 2.60 ERA may not seem disappointing to anyone over here, but it's the highest mark that Maeda has posted since 2009, and well north of the 1.53 and 2.10 figures of 2012 and 2013 respectively. It's also not beyond the realm of possibility that his 11-9 record is being given a bit more weight than it should be (which is to say, any weight at all).

Disappointing or not, though, it's not hard to imagine that Maeda still hits the market in 2014. Under the old posting system, it might have made sense for a team to wait until after a big year to post their players in hopes of getting as large a posting fee as possible. But now that there's a cap in place far below the sort of fees drawn by top pitchers in years past, it's hard to imagine that the Carp are sacrificing much value (if any) in posting Maeda now, while another "disappointing" season or an injury could completely tank his value.

Then again, it's possible that Maeda is the one actually reluctant to make the move right now. Masahiro Tanaka has shown us just how high these contracts can go, but Maeda doesn't seem to be held in quite the same regard as Tanaka, and perhaps he sees his 2014 season as damaging to his contract prospects. If he believes he's capable of raising his stock with one big year in Japan, it would make sense for him to delay his posting until 2015.