Los Angeles Dodgers: Kenta Maeda trade request not a surprise

FORT MYERS, FL- FEBRUARY 24: Kenta Maeda #18 of the Minnesota Twins pitches in the bullpen prior to a spring training game against the Boston Red Sox on February 24, 2020 at the Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers, Florida. (Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images)
FORT MYERS, FL- FEBRUARY 24: Kenta Maeda #18 of the Minnesota Twins pitches in the bullpen prior to a spring training game against the Boston Red Sox on February 24, 2020 at the Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers, Florida. (Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images) /
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It is not exactly a surprise, but Kenta Maeda admitted that he asked to be traded from the Los Angeles Dodgers.

It was not a surprise that Kenta Maeda was traded by the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Dodgers had a surplus of starting pitching, and Maeda had expressed his desire to only work as a member of the rotation. Eventually, after the Red Sox nixed the first incarnation of a three way trade involving the Dodgers and Twins, Maeda was sent to Minnesota.

What is a surprise is that Maeda had requested to be sent elsewhere. He revealed on his YouTube channel that he had asked to be traded, as he was not interested in being used as a reliever.

One could not fault the Dodgers for the idea of using Maeda as a fireman, especially in the postseason. In his first taste of playoff action in 2016, Maeda struggled, allowing eight runs on 12 hits and seven walks over his 10.2 innings. However, as a reliever in the playoffs, he allowed just four runs on 15 hits and five walks, striking out 27 batters in 22 innings from 2017 through 2019.

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That strategy of Maeda as a fireman began to be used more during the regular season. Over the past two years, he made 30 appearances out of the bullpen. Considering that Maeda has posted a lifetime 3.04 ERA with a 0.992 WHiP, striking out 58 batters against eight walks in his 42.1 innings as a reliever, one can understand the Dodgers interest in his reprising his fireman role.

That is not likely to be the case in Minnesota. He is currently listed as the Twins third starter, slotted behind Jose Berrios and Jake Odorizzi. Although Minnesota will be getting Michael Pineda back from suspension, and Rich Hill should return by the All Star Break, Maeda is not likely to lose his spot in the rotation.

In the end, that was what he really wanted. Yes, the Twins give Maeda an excellent chance to return to the postseason, but he will be taking the ball every fifth day. His role is set, even if expectations will be high for the coming year.

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Kenta Maeda was tired of being used as a reliever by the Los Angeles Dodgers. It is not a surprise that he asked to be traded elsewhere.