Hiroshima Carp owner Hajime Matsuda said today that his club is not yet sure whether it will make top pitcher Kenta Maeda available through the posting system, as the Japan Times reports. “We have the right,” said Matsuda. “We would like to let him go, but based on his production this year it will be difficult.”
For his part, Maeda said that he has not decided his own preference at this point. He is reported to have informed the Carp last year of his desire to be posted, however.
Maeda did put up a rather pedestrian 11-8 record. But by most measures valued in today’s MLB, he was far from unproductive: the 26-year-old worked to a 2.56 ERA with 7.7 K/9 against 2.0 BB/9, stats that are largely in line with his career figures. To be sure, he did not return to the stellar 1.53 earned run mark he put up in 2012, but a brief glance at his stat line shows that Maeda allowed half the number of home runs that year that he did this year and last, which alone probably accounts for much of the discrepancy.
Ben Badler of Baseball America recently published a scouting report suggesting that Maeda’s stuff remains as intriguing as ever. Though he is not viewed as a top-of-the-rotation starter, Maeda is seen as a good bet to be a valuable rotation piece at the MLB level. His solid repertoire is matched, it should be noted, by a track record of durability (at least 175 innings a year since 2009).
Remember that Maeda will be posted, if at all, under new rules agreed to in the midst of last year’s Masahiro Tanaka drama. Among other things, the release fee can be set no higher than $20MM, and any major league team willing to pay the established release fee is permitted to negotiate with the posted player.
In large part, those rule changes tend to discredit the notion that Maeda will not be posted because the Carp could always make him available for the maximum fee and then pull him back if no deal is struck. Though the above-cited story suggests a posting is “unlikely,” the only quote from Matsuda hardly implies that the club has made any decision against posting.