Kenta Maeda

Kenta Maeda

Kenta Maeda apparently wouldn’t mind joining baseball’s biggest rivalry.

Maeda could become the next Japanese pitcher to sign a lucrative contract with a Major League Baseball team. And according to The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo, Maeda has told some Japanese media he prefers to sign with the Boston Red Sox or New York Yankees whenever he’s posted by his Japanese club.

Maeda went 11-8 with a 2.56 ERA in 179 innings over 26 starts with the Hiroshima Carp this season. The 26-year-old right-hander struck out 7.7 hitters per nine innings while walking only two batters per nine frames. He owns an 82-58 record and 2.43 ERA over seven seasons in the Japan Central League.

It’s unclear at this point if/when the Carp will post Maeda, making him a major league free agent. But he’ll likely generate plenty of interest when he hits the open market. Cafardo reports that, according to a source familiar with Japanese baseball, the speculation is that Maeda could land a six-year contract worth $120-$130 million.

Japanese pitchers who recently made the jump to MLB include the Texas Rangers’ Yu Darvish and the Yankees’ Masahiro Tanaka. Both have enjoyed success in the United States, though Maeda’s ceiling might not be quite as high. An international scouting director told Baseball America’s Ben Badler last year that Maeda could be a No. 4 starter at the big league level.

Cafardo reported last month that the Red Sox were scouting Maeda.

Photo via Kyle Terada/USA TODAY Sports Images

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