As if there weren’t enough drama surrounding the Dodgers’ three-way deal for Mookie Betts, departed Dodger Kenta Maeda revealed on his YouTube channel that he had requested a trade out of Los Angeles, per Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times.
Neither the trade nor the revelation of Maeda’s request are particularly shocking as Maeda had made clear in the past his desire to be in the rotation. With Clayton Kershaw and Walker Buehler providing one of the better 1-2 punches in the league, the Dodgers preferred using Maeda as a roving power arm, especially come playoff time. The Dodgers used Maeda as a starter in 2016’s playoffs, but he didn’t make it out of the fifth inning in any of his three playoff starts. In the three postseasons hence, the Dodgers made Maeda into a relief weapon and saw him post a 1.64 ERA in 22 innings in the playoffs from 2017 to 2019.
While 2019’s postseason run was shorter than expected, Maeda was dominant in the NLDS agains the Nationals. He appeared in four of the five games, surrendering just one hit and no walks to seven strikeouts.
The Dodgers had begun to utilize their postseason strategy with Maeda more during the regular season. Now with the Twins, Maeda should be back in the rotation on a full-time basis as he prefers. Maeda has a personal goal of reaching 200 career wins, per Hernandez, which would mean accruing 14 wins per season for the next for years. That’s a tall order for anyone. Only ten pitchers posted so many wins over the past four years. That said, the Twins offense should help in providing an environment conducive to win collection.
In his first four seasons stateside, Maeda has gone 47-35 with a 3.87 ERA/3.71 FIP, and that’s with starting approximately 26 games per season. If he stays healthy, Maeda could potentially garner another 4 to 6 starts per season, putting him in range to hit his target. While Wins aren’t the tell-all stat of years past, it’s safe to assume the relationship between Maeda and Minnesota will have gone quite well if he does indeed achieve the 200-win mark.