According to Jon Morosi, the Dodgers have shown an interest in Kenta Maeda.
#Dodgers well positioned to pursue Maeda, because portion of $20MM posting fee required up front. And liquidity is not an issue for Dodgers.— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) December 22, 2015
After losing out on Zack Greinke, Johnny Cueto, and Hisashi Iwakuma, the Dodgers have a clear need for a number two starter to go along with Clayton Kershaw.
While Maeda has never pitched in the major leagues, his statistics in Japan speak for themselves.
At just 27 years of age, the team that ultimately signs Maeda (assuming he doesn't head back to Japan) will be getting him during his hypothetical peak seasons. According to PITCHf/x, which had cameras at AT&T Park the day Maeda pitched in the World Baseball Classic, his fastball had an average velocity of 90.7 mph; his sinker 89.5 mph; his changeup 82.7 mph; his slider 80.7 mph; and his curve at 71.6 mph.
"The velocity is terrible. There's no other way to say it. Average his pitches, and he's in the 20th percentile. He'll need all that movement and command to make it work on this side of the pond.
It is nice to see, however, that he has some elite movement numbers. Only nine right-handers have more horizontal movement on their sliders than Maeda showed that day in 2013, and the pitch looks a little bit like Sergio Romo's slider by the numbers, if a few inches short of being the super-frisbee that the longtime Giant has thrown." -- Eno Sarris.
The track record for Japanese pitchers coming to the majors isn't fantastic, which could scare potential suitors away from Maeda. As of March 21, 2015, 20 pitchers had made the transition, and 11 of them posted career sub-one fWAR's. While that doesn't inherently mean Maeda will be a bust if he chooses to sign with an MLB team, it's undoubtedly worrying.