Back in October, I wrote about the possibility of adding Hiroki Kuroda. At the time, it seemed unlikely. Waaaaay back then, we figured Kuroda would either retire or re-sign with the Dodgers. Since LA signed Chris Capuano, that situation seems to have changed. Now, Kuroda is reportedly seeking a $12-13M deal.
1. Can it happen? Of course it can. The Yankees most likely have the cash to facilitate signing Kuroda.
2. Should it happen? I’m writing about it, so there’s obviously a part of me that thinks it should. While he’s never pitched in the AL, he’s shown the ability to generate grounders (48.2% career) and keep the ball in the park (0.82 HR/9 career). His FIP- (90) and xFIP- (89) bode well for shifting leagues. Most importantly, he’s showed the ability to stay healthy, throwing at least 180 innings every year but 2009. At the very least, I think Kuroda could repeat what Freddy Garcia gave the Yankees in 2011. The best part, though, is that it would only take a one year commitment to sign Kuroda and that’s the best type of contract for a pitcher.
3. Will it happen? I doubt it. Mike at RAB broke down the payroll and it seems that there may not be room for a big salary. Granted, $12-13M isn’t huge (especially for the Yankees), but when you’re bumping up against a limit–be it de facto or de jure–it’s a bit much, especially for a pitcher like Kuroda. Yea, he fits the bill for what the Yankees need, but is there enough upside and is he enough of a sure thing for Hal Steinbrenner to give Brian Cashman the green light here? I’m not so sure. It’s also worth noting that this would push one of Phil Hughes or A.J. Burnett out of the rotation. That may not be a bad thing, but the Yankees haven’t exactly shown much willingness to do either one of those things.
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