Japanese right-hander Kenta Maeda could be making his way to the Major Leagues soon. The Hiroshima Carp are reportedly on the verge of posting Maeda, according to a Yahoo Japan report.
If the Carp do post Maeda, they will likely set his release fee at the maximum amount of $20 million, per the current posting rules that went into effect in 2013. Beginning the day after he is posted, MLB clubs willing to pay the fee will have 30 days to negotiate with Maeda to try to strike a deal.
Maeda, who turns 28 in April, is considered among the top pitchers in Japan. He's pitched eight seasons with the Carp, compiling a 97-67 record with a 2.64 ERA through 218 career games (1,509 2/3 innings). He's coming off a strong 2015 campaign that earned him his second Sawamura Award, Japan's version of the Cy Young Award.
Maeda will join a rich free agent pitching pool, with Arizona already surfacing as a potential destination. FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal posted to Twitter on Thursday night that the D-backs are interested in Maeda -- in addition to free-agent hurlers Johnny Cueto and Mike Leake -- due to the fact that none of them would require Draft pick compensation. Arizona currently has the No. 13 overall selection in next June's Draft.
Maeda's numbers in Nippon Professional Baseball compare favorably to players like Masahiro Tanaka and Yu Darvish, though he may not command a salary figure in line with other MLB aces due to his slighter frame (he's listed at 6-foot, 154 pounds) and an average fastball velocity in the low 90s.
Chad Thornburg is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.