The Minnesota Twins have big plans for Kenta Maeda in the 2020 season as they look for a better performance from their starting rotation. If the fact the Twins gave up top prospect Brusdar Graterol wasn't enough to persuade fans on this topic, perhaps some comments from Maeda himself will do the trick.
Speaking on his YouTube channel, Maeda revealed that he had asked his former employer, the Los Angeles Dodgers, to trade him this offseason due to a desire to pitch more in a starting rotation. While he didn't ask for a trade to Minnesota specifically, he did mention that his goal of winning 200 career games between Japan and MLB was a big factor in his decision.
With Maeda sitting at 144 wins entering his age-32 season, his best bet of accomplishing that goal is outside of Los Angeles, where the Dodgers already have Clayton Kershaw, David Price and Walker Buehler, along an emerging young starter, Dustin May, pushing for another spot in the rotation.
Instead of being used as a power reliever late in the year like he was in L.A., the expectation is that Maeda will be a full-season starter for the Twins.
This may be great for Maeda, who is expected to slot into the third spot behind Jose Berrios and Jake Odorizzi, but also raises some concern because he's never thrown more than 175 innings in a season, last doing so in 2016.
Regardless, Maeda might have the best stuff on the staff with a 32.5% whiff rate, according to Baseball Savant. And with Rich Hill and Michael Pineda not available to start the season, the newest Twin should get all the innings he can handle going into 2020 and beyond.