New York Yankees: Why Hiroki Kuroda Should Be Brought Back for 2013

Doug RushSenior Analyst IAugust 14, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 14:  Hiroki Kuroda #18 of the New York Yankees looks on during the game against the Texas Rangers at Yankee Stadium on August 14, 2012 in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
Mike Stobe/Getty Images

Back in January, the New York Yankees made what a lot of people called a risky signing with Hiroki Kuroda.

A lot of people were fearful of him pitching in the American League for the first time, as he was a career National Leaguer with the Dodgers.

He got off to a rocky start with the Yankees in 2012, but when he settled in, he showed everyone why the Yankees gave him a $10 million deal for 2012.

Since June began, Kuroda has been 7-2 for the Yankees and has failed to get into the sixth inning only once.

He's also gotten his ERA down to 3.06, which is fantastic considering he's pitching in one of the toughest divisions in baseball with the AL East.

His performance against the American League Champion Texas Rangers was absolutely sensational.

Kuroda fired a complete game, two-hit shutout, striking out five and walking two against one of the most potent lineups in the sport in a Yankees 3-0 victory.

That win gave Kuroda his 11th of the season, improving his 2012 record to 11-8.

The biggest thing Kuroda was bringing to the Bronx was professionalism and consistency—something A.J. Burnett lacked during his tenure, which is why he was on the block and traded to Pittsburgh once Kuroda was signed.

If you notice in the games where Kuroda is struggling or has a faulty outing, he doesn't get rattled and lose his composure on the mound. He just continues to pitch and battle.

It's a complete 180-degree turnaround from Burnett, even though he's having success again in the National League. The bottom line is Burnett got worse with his age pitching in the American League.

Kuroda, on the other hand, has adapted to the newer league and hitters and at times, is as dominant of a pitcher on the mound. Tuesday night's performance may have been the best of Kuroda's season. And I think with the way he's been pitching, Kuroda should strongly be considered to be brought back for 2013.

With Michael Pineda's status unknown following his shoulder surgery in the spring, plus given the struggles of Manny Banuelos and Dellin Betances in the minor leagues, the Yankees need sure things up for 2013.

They'll have CC Sabathia, and he's really the only guarantee.

Phil Hughes and Ivan Nova have been too inconsistent despite winning over 10 games a piece, and Andy Pettitte's status for 2013 is unknown.

Kuroda would only need a one-year deal considering he's 37, going on 38-years-old by the time the 2013 season will begin.

Pitching in the Bronx will give Kuroda the chance to win a championship as long as he's in pinstripes, which is what lured him away from his comfort zone of pitching on the west coast in Los Angeles.

Kuroda will be put to the ultimate test in October—if and when the Yankees do make the postseason—and he'll be given the ball in big spots.

But in my honest opinion, I'd be very comfortable seeing Joe Girardi handing Kuroda the ball in a Game 2 or Game 3 and having him go out and dominate for six or seven innings.

His mentality is suited for the Bronx and it can help them in October. And as long as he would want to, I think Brian Cashman should definitely make sure Kuroda's in pinstripes for 2013.

Stay tuned, Yankees Universe.