Maeda, who turns 36 in April, has a proven track record across seven years in the majors, including coming in second place in Cy Young voting in 2020, but has been plagued by injuries since then, particularly Tommy John surgery that caused him to miss the entire 2022 season. In 20 starts in 2023, Maeda put up a 4.66 ERA, much of which could be attributed to an April start in which he gave up 10 earned runs to the Yankees in three innings.
He'll join a Detroit starting rotation likely to include Tarik Skubal, Casey Mize, Reese Olson and Matt Manning, but one that could use stability as a known quantity. Eduardo Rodríguez, who hit the market in free agency at the end of the year, led the staff with 26 starts in 2023. An innings eater will help.
The Tigers will be familiar with Maeda already, after watching him pitch for the Twins for the past four years.
CBS Sports' R.J. Anderson, saying his "approach is all about accentuating his strengths and hiding his weaknesses. He doesn't have a good fastball, so he throws it the third-most often of his pitches, behind his splitter and slider. It works for him, even if it may not work for others."
Despite the need for pitching, the Tigers do not appear to be fishing in the high end of the market, which features NPB ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto, two-way superstar Shohei Ohtani (who will not be able to pitch until 2025 after elbow surgery) and Cy Young winner Blake Snell. Instead, they've turned to the mid-tier, possibly eyeing more additions as the offseason goes on.
The Tigers finished in second place in the AL Central with a 78-84 record, nine games behind the division-winning Twins. The division, though, remains wide open, as Minnesota isand the Guardians still struggling to build offense behind a strong pitching staff.