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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  • Dorasaga

    I wonder what B.A said about Kuroda and Uehara right before they landed in the States. Because they and Maeda are aces in Japan. They are smart pitchers who always know how to pitch. Their “stuff” are subtle. How many pitchers in this world could control a cutter AND a sinker as Kuroda has been showing to Major League hitters? Roy Halladay?

    All three could anchor a rotation, if not be aces in MLB; Kuroda led the Yankees staff but is still overtly underrated, while Uehara suffered injury since 2008.

  • Eugene Debs

    Is this real life?

  • SuzyS

    Sometimes, apparent inaction is much better then a flurry of activity. I’d much rather the Cubs get the right resolution to Shark then make a bad deal.
    I’d much rather the Cub’s get SP without hamstringing the organization with contracts the constrain them from getting true difference makers in the future.
    The extra $25 mil. each team is getting this season seems to have lead to true escalation of salaries into unrealistic areas….( Is Cano really worth $24/25 mil per season?/$10 mil for Feldman per season???).

    I think the Cubs might have cleared the decks for a true run at Tanaka…and then the rule changes with Japan held up everyone.

    Tanaka would be great…BUT…not at a price that would hamstrung us into a Cano contract.

    Other thoughts:
    1) Neil noted yesterday that Shark’s agent arrived yesterday for a day and a half…is that to facilitate a trade or hammer out a contract?

    2) I like Renteria. The Cubs may have made a really nice move there..

    • K_Gripp

      Buying young Japanese pitchers fits well with what the organization is trying to do. The new rule change helped us to be in the mix for Tanaka because otherwise there was no way we were outbidding the Yankees. Now it’s a matter of Tanaka being posted and Theo and Jed making the right marketing and financial package to the pitcher. This would be the only deal the Cubs make this off-season that makes them a better team in 2014 AND 2016 when they are finally “ready to win”.

      The more I think about it the more I want the Cubs to come to extension terms with the Shark. As Rip pointed out yesterday the “cant miss” pitching prospects included in these deals miss expectations more than reach them.

      • J Daniel

        Still don’t think they are going to outbid the Yankees.

        • SirGladiator

          The Yankees have been blowing through their money, and are way too close to the cap to compete with us. The only way they were getting Tanaka was by outbidding us in a way that didn’t count against the Cap, which was the posting fee. Now that is no longer a problem, the contracts themselves will count against the cap, and we have WAY WAY more room under the cap than them, so they’re going to have to look elsewhere for a pitcher.

    • TheWrongGuy

      I agree with you 100% Suzy.

      I believe they were setting up to make a big run at Tanaka… BUT…they are currently shifting gears since being at the winter meetings and hearing the rumor mill. the rule changes to the posting system, and the inflation to the cost of pitching.

    • WidespreadHisPanic

      I agree, Suzy. I couldnt have said it better.

    • CubbyDenCritic

      Suzy……if Shark wants to win games, what makes you think Tanaka wants to come to the Cubs and lose games?……Tanaka wants Playoffs, endorsements, wins………..Yankees, Red Sox, Dodgers, Angels all have the upper hand on Tanaka.
      Time to put that Tanaka as a Cub to rest.

      • cubtex

        $ talks. If they outbid everyone but that will mean that it would be a HUGE contract.

    • Ripsnorter1

      I’ll tell you what’s really holding up the Tanaka deal:

      He doesn’t speak Spanish.

      Yup. That has Team Theo completely bumfoozled.

  • cubtex

    Can someone explain this quote by Hoyer to me? Is he saying you have to have a winning team to make trades? White Sox are active,Astros,Rockies. You have what…150 plus players in your entire organization and you can’t look to move players and upgrade anywhere?

    The Cubs are not believed to have any deals pending or imminent but they are laying groundwork for possible deals according to ESPN Chicago. Jed Hoyer addressed the Cubs lack of moves over the last two weeks and said, “I think there is a day in the near future where we’ll be here and be really active in making those moves.”

    • 07GreyDigger

      I think he’s addressing the winter meetings but in the future. Right now their system is headlined by a few intriguing guys, but they need those guys moving forward to get better. By continuing to build depth in the system, they want to act like the Red Sox have in the past and trading young players for proven stars. That’s what I think he’s getting at.

      • cubtex

        so the White Sox are also a year ahead of the Cubs rebuilding by adding and improving their team by adding Adam Eaton? Marlins are adding, Astros are adding, White Sox are adding. #1 pick must be the goal again. Isn’t this great digger?

        • 07GreyDigger

          Just because they haven’t done anything yet doesn’t mean they aren’t going to.

  • cubtex

    Maeda is 6′ 160. If you are going to get in the dollar figures of what a Garza,Santana or Jiminez will get….give me one of those 3 over Maeda.
    Especially Garza since you don’t lose a draft pick by signing him.

  • cubtex

    Per Joel Sherman….Shark not anxious to commit long term. Not sure when Cubs will contend.

    We are not sure either Jeff. Please let the fans know if you find something out. :))

    • Ripsnorter1


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