September 17, 2021

Kenta Maeda wants to start, so the Dodgers have a suggestion: pitch better (The Athletic)

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — For Dodgers pitcher Kenta Maeda, the past three seasons have followed a similar trajectory. He prepares to be a starter during spring training. Over the course of two dozen outings, he performs like a credible member of the rotation. As summer turns to fall, the team shifts him into the bullpen, where he pitches like an elite reliever and forms part of the bridge to closer Kenley Jansen.

The strategy has proved effective for the Dodgers. But the approach vexes Maeda. It damages his pride and trims his paycheck. He has vocalized his frustration to Dodgers officials. After an unsuccessful attempt last winter to renegotiate his incentive-laden contract, which lasts another four years, Maeda remains steadfast in his desire to start. His agent, Joel Wolfe, reiterated that during a meeting with Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman this week.

“Kenta wants to make 30 starts, 32 starts during the season,” Wolfe said. “He would…

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