If you haven’t had a lot of experience with the mystery team, it’s because the Twins - as long back as I can recall - have never turned out to be that team.
Not too much later, it was confirmed the Twins were sending pitching prospect Brusdar Graterol to the Red Sox. In return, they were getting P Kenta Maeda.
Adding Maeda is a big deal on the field, but let’s look at three unique things off the field.
***Maeda signed an 8-year, $25 million deal with the Dodgers before the 2016 season. He has four years, at $3 million per year left on his incentive-laden contract.
His incentives include:
$150,000 for making Opening Day roster
$1 million for starts 15 and 20.
$1.5 million for starts 25, 30 and 32.
$250,000 reaching the innings of 90, 100, 110, 120, 130, 140, 150, 160, 170, 180 and 190.
$750,000 if he throws 200 innings.
***The fact that so much of Maeda’s earnings are tied to starts and innings has been a contentious point recently.
The Dodgers tried to rework his deal, which he declined. The message to him was to “pitch better.”
Maeda is definitely going to begin the season in the starting rotation, but someone is going to get squeezed if everyone is healthy when Michael Pineda and Rich Hill return from suspension and injury, respectively. We already know how Maeda would feel if it’s him.
***Maeda has some interesting “perks” in his deal which raise additional questions.
His original contract gave him the right to wear #18. That’s currently worn by Silver Slugger catcher Mitch Garver.
The Dodgers had to provide Maeda with four round-trip business-class airline tickets between Japan and LA annually. Can he fly out of MSP?
There’s a $1 million assignment bonus. Do the Twins pay that? Allegedly.
What we do know is that even if Maeda only has an average (by his standards) year, he will make nearly 30 starts and throw around 170 innings, triggering incentives that will earn him nearly $10 million total, which is still a steal in this market for a mid-rotation starter.
All of the other stuff, though… stay tuned...