Twins Extension Candidate: Kenta Maeda
Image courtesy of © Milwaukee Journal Sentinel-USA TODAY NETWORKKenta Maeda
2020 Stats (11 games): 2.70 ERA, 0.75 WHIP, 161 ERA+, 3.00 FIP, 1.6 WAR
Current Contract (Signed thru 2023, 8 years/$25 million)
Maeda is currently on an unbelievably team friendly contract. His base salary over the next three seasons is just north of $3 million. The Dodgers were able to sign him to this contract because their medical staff found “irregularities” during his physical. He can earn bonuses to increase the value of his contract including an annual roster bonus ($150,000), games started bonus (up to $6.5 million), and innings pitched bonus (up to $3.5 million). Even if he hits all these bonuses, he’s still a relative bargain for a top of the rotation starter.
Pros of Extending Now
One of the biggest benefits to extending now would be locking in some cost certainty moving forward while also rewarding one of baseball’s best pitchers last season. The Twins already have Maeda under team control through his age-35 season, so it’s tough to know what the team is thinking moving forward. Maeda should be paid like one of the best starting pitchers in baseball, but one must wonder if he can reproduce his 2020 numbers in a season where he appears in more than 11 games.
Cons of Extending Now
He will be 35-years old at the end of the contract and Minnesota will have a better idea if they want to keep him in their rotation moving forward. There’s no need to rush into an extension with Maeda, but the team might want to reward him for his impressive debut season with the Twins. Minnesota seemed to be able to get the best out of Maeda last year, but baseball’s financial future is clouded in uncertainty. No one knows what revenues will look like in the years ahead so a cost-controlled contract, like Maeda’s, is a valuable asset.
Since he made his debut in 2016, FanGraphs estimates that Maeda has provided over $90 million in value to the Twins and the Dodgers. Last season alone, he was worth nearly $17 million even though he made fewer than 12 starts. Zack Wheeler’s free agent deal last off-season (5-years, $118 million) seems like a contract that Maeda could garner on the open market. Would the Twins be willing to alter Maeda’s current deal to give him more guaranteed money?
What do you think the Twins should do with Maeda? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
MORE FROM TWINS DAILY
— Latest Twins coverage from our writers
— Recent Twins discussion in our forums
— Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email