Monday, December 14, 2015

Most Popular Article of the Week: The Road Towards Kenta Maeda

From Eliot Podgorsky SEEN HERE

The hot stove boiled over today in a big way. A brief recap below:
  • Cubs sign INF/OF Ben Zobrist to four-year $52 million deal
  • Cubs trade INF Starlin Castro to Yankees for Adam Warren and PTBN (reported to be INF Brendan Ryan
  • Braves trade SP Shelby Miller and PTBN to Diamondbacks for OF Ender Inciarte, SP Aaron Blair and SS Dansby Swanson
While only the Cubs moves directly affects the Yankees, I provided this recap because the Miller move could impact the rest of the offseason. 

The majority of fans commenting on the Yankees Facebook page are excited

The Shelby Miller trade is one that I look to that could impact the rest of the offseason. I believe that the Braves got a haul for a Miller. Miller has been a great pitcher in his three full seasons, notwithstanding his win-loss record but last year when he recorded a career low ERA he also had a bit of luck with a home run rate that fell by half. He seems like a solid number two starter and slot in nicely behind the Diamondbacks new ace Zack Grienke but that is a lot to give up for a number two.

This trade puts the cost for young quality cost controlled pitching into the stratosphere. The satiating thoughts of Jose Fernandez in pinstripes should evaporate with the Miller trade. If the Yankees try to trade for a young pitcher without giving up untouchables they will have to target someone below the level Nathan Eovaldi was when they acquired him last year (too many hits, too few strikeouts). Eovaldi barely contributed before the 2nd half so someone below that skill level would be working in the minors. With the cost of young pitching untenable I think the Yankees go after Kenta Maeda.

Kenta Maeda

Last week news broke Maeda will be posted by his Japanese team the Hiroshima Toyo Carp. He was once considered the next great pitcher to come out of Japan a few years ago but the Carp never posted him. Now 27 going on 28 he will likely come stateside. With the posting fee capped at $20 million there are no concerns about a Daisuke Matsuzaka like fee. Maeda does have a lot of innings on his arm (1509.2) and the injury history for Japanese pitchers isn't great recently (Daisuke Matsuzaka, Yu Darvish, Masahiro Tanaka) but he his young enough where a 5-6 year deal would not saddle the Yankees with the downside of his career.

If the Yankees are waiting for money to come off the books before the become players in free agency the 2016-2017 offseason won't be a great one. Stephen Strasburg is the only notable starter to hit the market next year.

The Diamondbacks who were all over Maeda earlier in the offseason have said they are no longer interested. The Giants were the only other team with reported interest in him and it has been reported they too are out. With only the "mystery team" as competition I think the Yankees should target Maeda. A five-year deal between $55-$60 million seems like it could get it done. 

Scouts have said that Maeda is more likely a number 3-4 starter due to his lack of electrifying stuff and is more of a control pitcher like Hiroki Kuroda. Kuroda was pleasant and consistent rotation stalwart for three years and it would be great to add that to the rotation. In a world where J.A. Happ just got a three-year $36 million deal the contract I pegged for Maeda doesn't strike me as an overpay. Adding Maeda could allow the Yankees to trade Ivan Nova or move to a six-man rotation that could protect the arms of Maeda, Tanaka, Michael Pineda and Luis Severino. Kenta Maeda is an interesting target in the wake of the rising costs of free agents and trades. 

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Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)