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The Cubs And Kenta Maeda, Potential Free Agent

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The NBP star could be posted this winter.

Kenta Maeda pitches for Japan in the 2013 World Baseball Classic
Kenta Maeda pitches for Japan in the 2013 World Baseball Classic
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

This one's by request, and I'm not sure where I can take this article, because most of what I know about Japanese righthander Kenta Maeda can be found in his baseball-reference page.

The numbers are good. Not quite Yu Darvish good, but good. Maeda is going to be posted by his Nippon Pro Baseball team, the Hiroshima Toyo Carp, possibly as soon as tomorrow, writes Jon Paul Morosi:

While right-hander Kenta Maeda is likely to be available to MLB clubs this winter, the Hiroshima Toyo Carp — his team in the Japanese Central League — have yet to announce publicly that Maeda will be posted. A formal decision isn’t expected until after Maeda and Team Japan complete their participation in the WBSC Premier 12 international tournament, which concludes Nov. 21.

It's really hard to tell how NPB production will translate to MLB. Most Japanese pitchers who come to MLB are older than Maeda, who will turn 28 the day of the Cubs' home opener next April. Darvish, about the only NPB pitcher younger than Maeda to come over, has had very good MLB success, but also some injury issues. This is likely due not just to the heavier inning workload for MLB teams, but because most NPB teams use six-man rotations. Darvish himself pushed for that last year, though no team has yet to do it on a full-time basis.

Thus going into the posting system to sign Maeda would come with some bit of risk. How much risk that is, is really impossible to say. Morosi's article reminds us of the new posting rules, which were instituted after the Darvish signing:

Under posting rules revised after the 2013 season, any MLB team would be able to sign Maeda as long as it paid a $20 million release fee. The timing could be advantageous for Maeda to jump to MLB now, with large-market teams like the Yankees, Red Sox, Cubs, Dodgers and Giants all interested in rotation upgrades.

So... should the Cubs take a chance on Maeda?