MLB Free Agency: New York Yankees Agree to Terms with Pitcher Hiroki Kuroda

Jason KimCorrespondent IJanuary 13, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 16:  Hiroki Kuroda #18 of the Los Angeles Dodgers throws a pitch against the Pittsburgh Pirates on September 16, 2011 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

News around the big leagues on Friday night was overshadowed by the trade between the New York Yankees and Seattle Mariners, involving two highly valued prospects. It would send Jesus Montero to Seattle, and rookie All-Star Michael Pineda to fill out the rotation in the Bronx.

However, New York did make another move that might finally give them a very good rotation for their 28th World Series Championship, agreeing to terms with pitcher Hiroki Kuroda

The contract is reportedly to be a one-year deal worth $10 million.

Kuroda, who will be 37 years of age on Opening Day, enjoyed his best season in the United States last season, having an ERA of 3.07. He also pitched over 200 innings, starting 32 games while picking up 13 wins.

In his four-year MLB career, all spent with the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Japanese born right-hander owns a 41-46 record with a very respectable ERA of 3.45. 

The deal comes just 24 hours after Kuroda expressed interest in only signing with either the Boston Red Sox or the Yankees, not to mention dropping his asking price from $11-12 million annually and a two-year contract. 

Though there are concerns of the aging pitcher, he has shown no decline thus far. 

There are also doubts of moving from a pitcher friendly Dodger Stadium to a hitter friendly Yankee Stadium, which could hurt his stats. But hopeful fans see that he will be at worst a solid pitcher that can get a 15-win season with one of the best offenses in the big leagues. 

Another problem might be the transition to New York, but Kuroda was the only one on the free-agent market who was willing to take a one-year deal without any recent injury concerns. Roy Oswalt has had back problems and Edwin Jackson was asking for a five-year deal worth $15 million per year. 



The projected Yankees rotation now looks like this:

  1. C.C. Sabathia
  2. Ivan Nova
  3. Hiroki Kuroda
  4. Michael Pineda
  5. Phil Hughes/A.J. Burnett/Freddy Garcia

The only problem is that they currently have seven solid pitchers, and all of them are starter worthy. A reasonable move might be to move Hughes back to the bullpen where he can make the strong pen even better, but no comment by the Yankees have been made.

This also leaves Burnett and Garcia, but both of them don't seem like trade candidates or relievers, so it would be interesting how this all plays out.

No longer can rivals say the Yankees lack in starting pitching after Friday.