After the Dodgers chose to non-tender Kuo, the Mariners signed him in February as a free agent. His one-year contract was worth $500,000 plus a bonus if he had made the 25-man roster. It wasn’t to be. Kuo had underwent a fifth elbow surgery this offseason, and he even wondered whether he would still be able to pitch. Being one of our favorites, we were all rooting for him to make a comeback and regain his 2010 form.
In 2010 Kuo was nothing short of spectacular. His 1.20 ERA set a new Dodger record for a reliever. He struck out 73 opposing batters in 60 innings. He played in the All-Star Game, and through that magical season he was virtually unhittable. Yet he struggled with the yips and back problems in 2011, and he finished with a very high 9.00 ERA.
Kuo commented on his Spring Training performance before it was announced that he was released.
“It’s all about command, and I’ve been getting better, getting closer,” Kuo said. “Baseball is baseball, and when you struggle you keep working to get it right.”
Kuo may be able to sign with the Mariners to a minor league deal if he clears waivers. Perhaps it is the end of the road for the 30-year old whose arm has been surgically repaired five times. He has worked back from the brink before, but I’m not sure if his arm can be held together much longer.
If Kuo’s baseball career does come to a close, maybe he will open that restaurant in Taiwan he spoke about in the past. We will always have 2010, and we will always have this…