Just 12 games remain in what has been a disappointing season for the Red Sox, but team brass has had their eye on 2015 since the firesale trade deadline day, and likely well before that.

The Red Sox lack true front-end starting pitchers, an area they will need to address this offseason whether through free agency or trade.

Jon Lester, Max Scherzer and James Shields are considered the top of the class, but according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, another free agent could be emerging in the team’s plans.

“Multiple scouts and executives” have been watching Hiroshima Carp righty Kenta Maeda, including his most recent start. Maeda will be posted in November and carries a $25 million posting fee, which Cafardo writes “would be surprising” if the Red Sox didn’t make an offer for the chance to negotiate.

Cafardo adds that Maeda is “considered a smaller version of Masahiro Tanaka.” For Red Sox fans’ sake, hopefully not any type of version of Daisuke Matsuzaka.

Luckily for the Sox, though, is that posting fees are not what they once were. The Sox bid more than $51 million in November 2006 just for the rights to negotiate with Dice-K, and later signed him to a six-year, $52 million contract.

Across parts of seven seasons in Japan’s Central League, Maeda, 26, owns a career 2.45 ERA and a K/BB ratio of 3.72.

Watch his highlights below:

MORE RED SOX COVERAGE FROM CBS BOSTON
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