FREE AGENT SIGNING: Kenta Maeda Finds New Team For 2024

A former Cy Young runner-up and Rookie of the Year, Kenta Maeda bounced back nicely in 2023 after missing an entire season to injury, and now he's been rewarded with a free agent contract by the Detroit Tigers.

It's a two-year deal for the veteran Japanese hurler in Motown, worth $24 million. The 35-year-old is familiar with the AL Central Division of course, having pitched for the Minnesota Twins for three of the last four seasons (he missed 2022 after Tommy John surgery).

His strong showing in 2023, bouncing back from the TJ procedure, even at the age of 35, proved he was healthy, and back to his effective self, making him a viable mid-tier free agent target.

Maeda posted a 4.23 ERA this past season with a 1.17 WHIP and a very impressive 117:28 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He struck out 10.1 batters per nine innings. In his 7-year MLB career, he's 65-49 with a 3.92 ERA and 1.14 WHIP.

According to Evan Petzold of the Detroit Free Press, the Tigers have been anxious to establish themselves in the Japanese player market, and could also be eyeing an unlikely run at prime free agent starter Yoshinobu Yamamoto, who has professed a desire to potentially play alongside fellow Japanese players. They'll have plenty of stern competition, however, with all of the big-market teams expressing srong interest in Yamamoto as well.

Photo: Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports