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Dodgers finalize 8-year contract for Kenta Maeda

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LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers on Wednesday made official their contract with Japanese right-hander Kenta Maeda, an eight-year deal worth a reported $25 million guaranteed. He will be introduced in a press conference at Dodger Stadium at 1 p.m. PT on Thursday afternoon.

At eight years, Maeda ties Matt Kemp for the longest contract in franchise history, and is the longest for a Dodgers pitcher.

"We are excited to be bringing Kenta Maeda into the Dodger organization," president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said in a press release. "We have had the chance to scout him extensively in Japan and on the international stage and believe he has all the tools to be a successful Major League starting pitcher.

"We were honored to hear of his strong desire to be a Dodger and that only added to our motivation to bring him on board. We look forward to Kenta adding another chapter to the Dodgers’ global legacy and to him strengthening our ballclub in the years ahead."

Maeda and the Dodgers reportedly agreed to the deal on Dec. 31, but part of the wait for completion of the contract were due to concerns over Maeda's elbow, per Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.

The right-hander, who turns 28 in April, was 15-8 with a 2.09 ERA in 29 starts for Hiroshima in the Japanese Central League in 2015, with 175 strikeouts and 41 walks in 206⅓ innings. Maeda won the Eiji Sawamura Award, given annually to the top starting pitcher in the league, the second time in six years he took home the honor.

The Dodgers will owe a $20 million release fee to the Hiroshima Carp, who posted Maeda in December.

Maeda, who will wear No. 18, is the eighth Japanese-born player in Dodgers history, joining pitchers Hideo Nomo, Kazuhisa Ishii, Maso Kida, Takashi Saito and Hiroki Kuroda, infielder Norihiro Nakamura and outfielder Dave Roberts.

In eight seasons in Japan, Maeda was 97-67 with a 2.39 ERA, with 1,233 strikeouts and 319 walks in 1,509⅔ innings.

To make room on the 40-man roster, infielder Ronald Torreyes was designated for assignment.