Kenta Maeda

One of the themes of this offseason has been the Los Angeles Dodgers missing out on players they want. They’re still trying to sign a starting pitcher to help them get over Zack Greinke leaving. On the shortlist? Kenta Maeda of Hiroshima Carp, Scott Kazmir, Wei-Yin Chen, Jake Odorizzi and Alex Cobb.

The interesting thing about Maeda, who probably has the Dodgers as the frontrunners to bring him over from Japan, is that he isn’t going to be cheap. Even if the contract he ends up signing is something around $80 million for five years, it’s going to cost the Dodgers just $20 million to negotiate with him. With Wei-Yin Chen asking for the same kind of money ($100 million over five seasons) and a little more proven success in the majors, why not go after him? Well, Maeda is younger. There’s also a deadline to sign him: January 8.

Kazmir seems to be on the shortlist of a lot of teams. A rough finish 2015 means his value isn’t what it used to be, and it might be a good opportunity to someone who isn’t exactly ace material, but is a solid, safe addition to the rotation the Dodgers are trying to close. Kazmir started his career with the Tampa Bay Rays, but the three-time All-Star (last time in 2014) also had a short stint with the Los Angeles Angels which started out nicely but didn’t end all that well.

As for Jake Odorizzi and Alex Cobb, it’s going to take prospects to get them from the Rays, who seem to have a lot of pitching talent everyone wants, but they’re not in too much of a hurry to offload these players. The Dodgers did acquire some expendable talent in recent trades which makes them comfortable with approaching these trade negotiations, but the Rays price might attract teams with more talent to give up than what the Dodgers have to offer.

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