Is Hiroki Kuroda’s awesomeness worth more than a draft pick? In one word….Yes. That’s the question we were all asking ourselves when we saw this tweet from Jon Heyman
come across the twittersphere. The Dodgers are eyeballing Kuroda, and he’s coming back, oh yes he is. Even though Stac said it was an outside shot, I think it could happen. Word has it, the Dodgers have contacted Kuroda’s agent. The Dodgers signed Kuroda away from the Carp in 2008, and he’s been one of the most consistent Dodger starting pitchers in recent memory.
Kuroda is 57-57 with a career 3.42 ERA. He has a career WHIP of 1.182 and a walk rate of 2.1. Kuroda pitched with the Dodgers from 2008-2011 before he signed with the Yankees for the 2012 season. This year with the Yankees, Kuroda had another typically solid season. He posted a 16-11 record, a 3.32 ERA, 219.2 innings pitched, and he whiffed 167 batters against only 52 walks. If you remember the Dodgers were looking to trade Kuroda during the 2011 season, and he exercised his no-trade clause, choosing to remain with the Dodgers for the rest of the season.
Kuroda would have probably just re-signed with the Dodgers in 2012, but last winter the team was still in bankruptcy and therefore did not have the funds to make Kuroda an offer. According to sources Kuroda was waiting for the Dodgers to call with an offer. Weeks went by as Hiroki waited for a call that never came. Finally Kuroda was forced to sign with another team. The Yankees came calling. They had been coveting Kuroda since the summer before. They threw 10 million dollars at Kuroda, and he signed. The Dodgers instead of bringing back Kuroda signed Chris Capuano, and Aaron Harang to replace him in the rotation. Kuroda pitched a full season in New York, and now he can become a free agent.
The way this whole new collective bargaining agreement works, is it’s all about “qualifying offers” now. Free agents are no longer ranked. Teams can choose to make qualifying offers to their free agents, and if they decline the offer they become a free agent, and their former team receives a first round draft pick in compensation. So the Yankees made Kuroda a 13.3 million dollar qualifying offer, and Kuroda has until tomorrow to accept or decline the offer. If Kuroda accepts then he stays with the Yankees, but if he declines, he becomes a free agent and can sign with anyone. The Dodgers would then have to give up a draft pick. Reports are surfacing that Kuroda will probably decline the offer to become a free agent, as several other teams other than the Dodgers are also interested in him.
So now that the Dodger’s ownership situation is resolved, the Dodgers can correct a mistake that should never have been allowed to be made. Naturally the Dodgers want him back because as we all know, he is awesome.
Look the Dodgers are going to bring him back and it’s the right thing to do. Search your mind you know it to be true. I can easily say how biased I am though, because I’m such a huge Kuroda fan. If the Dodgers do resign him, I’ll be elated. He’s always pitched much better than his record has shown. The Dodgers have never scored any runs for him. He’s had to pitch with the lowest run support in the league for years. Everyone thought he would struggle or decline pitching half his games at Yankee Stadium. Wrong. He had one of his best seasons this year.
The big argument against this is Kuroda’s age of course. People will argue that because he’s 37, that it’s crazy to give up a first round draft pick. You know what I say to that? Meh. Draft pick….don’t care……want Kuroda….Hiroki now!
Yeah serious, I don’t really care much about a draft pick. I want Kuroda back in Blue. I don’t care if it costs us a draft pick. It’s worth it. Having a pitcher as consistent as Kuroda is priceless. The Dodgers have been looking for starting pitching this off-season and Kuroda would be a great number two starter behind Clayton Kershaw. He’s been a durable innings eater, and workhorse over the last couple of years too, posting consecutive seasons of 200+ innings. Plus he’s a known commodity to the Dodgers. The Carp fans knew it. During Kuroda’s final game with the Hiroshima Carp, the fans held up cardboard cutouts of Kuroda’s number 15 and begged for him to stay. They didn’t want him to leave either.
I fully believe that Kuroda should never have been allowed to leave via free agency. The only reason it happened is because of Frank McCourt, and the Dodgers being in bankruptcy. So if the Dodgers hadn’t been in bankruptcy and had the money, they would have made Kuroda an offer, and he would have stayed put.Come back to us Hiroki. We miss you, and need you. Screw the Yankees. They don’t appreciate you. But we do. Kuroda belongs in Dodger Blue. If Kuroda declines the Yankee’s offer, more than likely he’s coming back to the Dodgers. Ned Colletti and Stan Kasten will make him an offer. It might happen, so just accept it. Kuroda goes about his game with a quiet dignity and fierce loyalty rarely seen in this age of free agency. I consider not resigning Kuroda as one of the biggest mistakes caused by the McCourt regime. Kuroda once told the Carp that he would never pitch for another Japanese team ever. Man I love that. Don’t you? I know it seems like corny sentimental crap, but I don’t care, I love it, and I know you do to. Think about it.
I know that a first round draft pick is worth more in the long run. I know it may seem silly to you that I like a 37 year old Japanese pitcher more than a future first rounder. The thing is, this isn’t about future first round picks. This isn’t about adding value, or replenishing the farm system. This is about doing the right thing.
Bringing Kuroda back where he belongs is the right thing to do. Kuroda has been one of my favorite Dodgers over the last several years, and this is a mistake that needs to be fixed. I know I’m being selfish with my Kuroda fandom, but I cant help it. Can you blame me?
Watching Kuroda pitch in pinstripes is just wrong. It should never have happened. Dam that McCourt for denying us a whole year of Kuroda. Wow, it feels good to get this off my chest.