The Los Angeles Dodgers have unveiled Japanese pitcher Kenta Maeda after agreeing on a deal that could be worth $106.2 million.
The $25 million, eight-year contract was finalized on Thursday and Maeda has since been introduced to the media at Dodgers Stadium. Maeda will receive a yearly salary of $8 million, with a $1 million signing bonus.
That figure could rise significantly thanks to a contract that is laden with incentives. Among other incentives, Maeda could walk away with a further $6.5 million annually based on starts; he will be paid $1 million each for 15 and 20 starts, and $1.5 million each for 25, 30 and 32 starts.
However, there are some concerns over Maeda's fitness, with the 27-year-old confirming that there were some "irregularities" in his physical. No specifics were offered to what the issue is. Despite this, Maeda remains confident that he can pitch through a full season.
"Despite the fact there were some irregularities found, the Dodgers made a decision to make a long-term commitment to me and that was meaningful to me," Maeda explained through a translator.
He added: "I played in Japan for nine years and never left the team for a long time due to injury. I'm confident I'm going to be able to pitch."
Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said that the franchise backs Maeda regardless of any fitness concerns.
"It factored into the contract, but the fact that he's asymptomatic and pitched as recently as six weeks ago gives us as much confidence as we can have at this point," Friedman. "We're optimistic he's going to help us win a lot of games over a lot of years."
Friedman confirmed that Maeda would be used as a starter as the Dodgers look to secure their first World Series title since 1988.