Two More Pitchers Reportedly on Cubs’ Radar: RHP Kenta Maeda and RHP Suk-Min Yoon

According to a report from Patrick Mooney, Japanese RHP Kenta Maeda and Korean RHP Suk-Min Yoon are on the Cubs’ radar as the front office attempts to add pitching to the organization.

Major League Baseball and Nippon Professional Baseball are expected to finalize the new posting system this week. And while all of baseball is waiting to see if the Rakuten Golden Eagles will post Masahiro Tanaka, the Cubs could be involved in the posting process for Kenta Maeda.

It appears the Hiroshima Carp will post right hander Kenta Maeda after he recently said he would like to pitch in the majors. According to Baseball America, “Maeda didn’t specify whether he hoped Hiroshima would post him this offseason.”

Masahiro Tanaka is seen as the premier pitcher in Japan, but according to Patrick Mooney, there’s skepticism within the Cubs’ organization if they will be able to land Tanaka.

According to Baseball America, Maeda does not throw as hard or have a devastating slider like Tanaka. Maeda is seen as a number two pitcher in Japan but if he was signed by a Major League team he would begin the season in the majors, not the minors. Maeda led Japan’s Central League in ERA and won the Sawamura Award, Japan’s equivalent of the Cy Young award.

The 25-year old right hander was 15-7 in 26 starts with a 2.10 ERA and a 0.96 WHIP last season. Maeda allowed 41 earned runs on 129 hits with 40 walks and 158 strikeouts in 175 2/3 innings. Maeda throws around 87-93 mph with good sink and run, though he doesn’t get great angle on his fastball according to Baseball America. Maeda repeats his delivery well and features a solid-average slider, a changeup and a curveball. Baseball America indicated Maeda could be a good fourth starter in the majors.

Under the new posting system, Japanese teams can set the posting fee for their players. Tanaka will be posted at the maximum of $20 million but it is unknown at this point what the posting fee would be for Kenta Maeda.

Suk-Min Yoon is a free agent after not going through the posting process. The 27-year old right hander has spent time in the starting rotation and in the bullpen during his career. Yoon features a low-90s fastball with what is described as a solid slider and an above average changeup. Yoon is 6-foot-0, 187 pounds and was considered the second best pitcher in Korea behind Dodgers’ lefty Hyun-Jin Ryu. Yoon has dealt with shoulder issues in the past and it is unclear if he would be a better fit as a reliever or starter.

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