Former Dodger Hiroki Kuroda will be wearing pinstripes again next season. The Yankees announced Tuesday that they have come to an agreement with the Japanese right-hander for a one-year $15 million contract.
The Yankees general manager Brian Cashman called the agreement “a relief.”
Kuroda had a solid season for New York last year. He went 16-11 which was tied for team lead in wins, a 3.32 ERA, and he led the team with 33 starts and 219 2/3 innings pitched. Not bad for a pitcher who turns 38 years old next February. Dodger fans are very familiar with Kuroda’s work ethic and servitude.
I was a bit disheartened to hear the news about Kuroda signing with the Yankees and not the Dodgers, since I thought it would be nice to see him return to Los Angeles where he began his Major League Baseball career.
Kuroda had this to say after the deal was announced:
”I am very happy and excited to re-sign with the Yankees. I am very grateful for all of the interest and all of the offers that I received from the various teams that courted me. It was a tough decision for me to make, but at the end of the day, I wanted to try to win a championship with the teammates that I went to battle with last season.”
We don’t know if the Dodgers had made him an offer or not, but they had been rumored to be interested in Hiro this offseason. Kuroda is very loyal, and I suspect his loyalty to his current team played a role in his decision.
The Dodgers most likely passed on vying for Kuroda because they would have lost a first-round draft pick if they had signed him.
Kuroda becomes the first top billed starting pitcher to be signed this winter. The Yankees have almost shored up their 2013 starting rotation which will include CC Sabathia, Kuroda, Phil Hughes, Ivan Nova, and David Phelps. They are still awaiting Andy Pettitte‘s decision on whether he wants to pitch next season.
What does this mean for the Dodgers? It’s rumored that their focus has shifted to Zack Greinke, who is the top free agent market starting pitcher available this season. Which means there might be a battle between Arte Moreno and the GBM when it comes to signing Greinke. Re-signing Greinke this offseason is the Angels number one priority. Other teams like the Rangers may get in the mix as well. Anibal Sanchez remains a target for the Dodgers, but the Tigers would like to keep him if they can.
Now’s the time for the GBM to flex their financial muscle to land Greinke. If they want to shape that dream team in which they were talking about when they took over ownership, then signing Greinke needs to be accomplished in order to give the team a true top notch no. 2 starter behind Clayton Kershaw. A rotation filled with Aaron Harangs and Chris Capuanos won’t cut it.