The Los Angeles Dodgers finalized an eight-year, $25 million deal with Japanese pitcher Kenta Maeda on Thursday that could be worth up to $106.2 million if his health holds up.
Maeda could earn the full value of the incentives by making the opening-day roster each of the next eight seasons, pitching 200 innings and making at least 32 starts every year.
The 27-year-old right-hander, introduced at a news conference in Dodger Stadium, had irregularities in his physical that were not specified by the team.
Maeda acknowledged past elbow problems, but said he believes he can pitch an entire season in the major leagues.
“I feel no uncertainty — zero,” Maeda said.
Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said the team also is confident that Maeda is healthy enough to contribute in 2016, and that the possibility that he could require elbow surgery in the future is “factored into the length and structure of the contract”.
Maeda has a 97-67 record with a 2.29 ERA in eight seasons in Japan. Last year, he posted a 15-8 record with a 2.09 ERA and 175 strikeouts in 206 1/3 innings with the Hiroshima Carp.
He earned his second Sawamura Award as top pitcher.
The Dodgers also must pay the Carp a $20 million posting fee, another reason for the length of his contract.
“We’re in it for the long haul,” Friedman said.