Twins pitchers and catchers take the field Wednesday for their first official workout in Fort Myers, Florida, with the Dodgers following Friday in Glendale, Arizona. In Monday's deal, spawned from the original three-team agreement with Boston that hit a snag last week, the Twins sent minor league outfielder Luke Raley and a competitive balance round pick in the 2020 draft, 67th overall, along with Graterol to Los Angeles. The Dodgers will send $10 million and minor league catcher Jair Camargo along with Maeda to Minnesota.
The 25-year-old Raley returned to the Dodgers, after missing most of last season with an ankle injury and playing in just 33 games for Triple-A Rochester. The Twins acquired him and starting pitching prospect Devin Smeltzer on July 31, 2018, in a trade that sent second baseman Brian Dozier to the Dodgers.
Graterol was initially slated for the Red Sox, but they held up the three-way deal headlined by star Mookie Betts' move to the Dodgers out of concern about Graterol's medical review. Graterol, 21, who can touch triple digits on the radar gun with his fastball, missed time last season for Double-A Pensacola with a shoulder injury. The right-hander recovered in time to make his major league debut with the Twins and pitch in the postseason, and the team planned to develop the native of Venezuela as a reliever, rather than a starter as he was on his way up through the system.
The Red Sox and Dodgers instead worked out their own trade that sent Betts to Los Angeles, and the Twins and Dodgers agreed on their portion of the swap. Both of those deals were agreed to Sunday. In order to make room on their 40-man roster, the Dodgers designated infielder Tyler White and outfielder Kyle Garlick for assignment.
Maeda, who spent his first four major league seasons with the Dodgers after coming over from Japan, will slide into the middle of Minnesota's rotation. The right-hander has a 3.87 ERA with 641 strikeouts in 589 career innings, including some late-season and postseason stints in relief. Since his debut in 2016, Maeda ranked fifth among qualifying National League pitchers in opponent batting average (.227).
Maeda made 103 starts over the last four seasons for the Dodgers, but their deep rotation allowed them to put him in the bullpen occasionally, too, and his desire has been to be a full-time starter. The 31-year-old didn’t make his major league debut until age 27 when he came over from the Hiroshima Carp. His $25 million, eight-year contract was written heavily with incentives that could make it worth as much as $106.2 million. That's because the Dodgers discovered in his physical at the time “irregularities" in his elbow.
Maeda's deal entitles him to $6.5 million annually based on starts: $1 million each for 15 and 20, and $1.5 million apiece for 25, 30 and 32 starts. He can earn $3.5 million annually based on innings pitched: $250,000 for 90 and each additional 10 through 190, and $750,000 for 200. The deal includes a $1 million assignment bonus each time he is traded.
To build their rotation behind ace José Berríos, the Twins re-signed Jake Odorizzi and Michael Pineda earlier this winter and signed free agents Homer Bailey and Rich Hill. Pineda can’t pitch until mid-May because of a remaining suspension for a banned diuretic, and Hill won’t be ready until mid-summer after elbow surgery. Maeda’s arrival will significantly reduce the number of starts the Twins will have to give to more inexperienced candidates. Randy Dobnak, Devin Smeltzer and Lewis Thorpe, who all debuted as rookies last year, will be given the longest looks in spring training.
The 20-year-old Camargo batted .236 for Class A Great Lakes last season. The native of Colombia was signed by the Dodgers in 2015.
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