Last year at this time, free agent right hander Hiroki Kuroda was coming off a stint with the Los Angeles Dodgers; the only major league team he’d ever known. When his contract was up, the Dodgers, who were in the midst of filing bankruptcy at the time, could afford to meet his asking price.
Though he had interest across baseball, most notably from the Tigers, Yankees, and Red Sox, Kuroda maintained that he would only pitch for the Dodgers or he’d head back to Japan. Eventually Kuroda relented and signed a one-year deal with the Yankees. Now, he’s at it again. This nugget unearthed by MLB Daily Dish, via Newsday:
Kuroda has told friends he’ll pitch for either the Yankees or the Hiroshima Carp next season but hasn’t decided yet. Also, he’s interested only in another one-year deal.
Kuroda was outstanding in 2012, just as he had been in the National League. The Yankees have very few certainties beyond staff ace CC Sabathia, so this marriage continues to make a good deal of sense. Kudoda will no doubt be looking for a raise from the $10 million he landed last Winter and he deserves one.
While the Yankees are certainly interested in keeping their right hander and Kuroda is interested in staying pt, it doesn’t make much sense to limit his own market this way. Even if he has zero intention of pitching anywhere beyond New York or Hiroshima, there is nothing like a good old fashioned bidding war to add a few million bucks to your contract. This type of attitude is what limited Kuroda to $10 million last year and it’s what may keep him from getting the $15-17 million he probably deserves this time around.
Regardless, it’s doubtful Kuroda will be headed back to his homeland to pitch in 2013, look for him to stay in New York on another one-year deal, and for him to leave millions on the table by doing so.