I remember the exact point last offseason when it became clear that the Red Sox weren’t going to spend any money.
Kuroda had been available for the Red Sox to sign for almost the entire winter and yet the Red Sox seemed unwilling or unable to pull the trigger.
Looking back on things now, it is easy to see the Red Sox had reached their budget, real or imagined, during the winter.
The Red Sox have a budget? Who knew, right?
Theo moving on to the Cubs. The mega-trade with the Dodgers, where the Red Sox dumped $262 million in payroll, and the rumors of the team being sold or stretched financially according to this story by Charlie Gasparino at the Fox business website.
It makes more sense now.
Former Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein must have seen the writing on the wall and wanted a new challenge and a clean break from his hometown team. Epstein going to the Cubs left Ben Cherington in a tough position. He was basically left holding the bag, but he really wasn’t at fault for all of the poor decisions made on Yawkey Way.
The Dodgers trade probably wouldn’t have happened if Theo Epstein was still the general manager of the Red Sox. There would have been too much crow to eat, too many decisions second guessed by ownership, fans and the media. It would have meant admitting that Boston had really done a very poor job of evaluating talent.
This is where Kuroda comes into play. The Red Sox have a chance at a do-over.
The 37-year-old Kuroda was the Yankees' best pitcher last season, pitching to a 16-11 record and a 3.32 ERA. The Japanese import was the glue that held the Yankees' pitching staff together through the injuries to the other New York starters. He gave the Yankees over 235 quality innings between the regular season and postseason.
Signing Kuroda and adding him to a rotation built around Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz would be a big step towards contention in 2013. If the Red Sox are able to add Jake Peavy as the team’s third starter and John Lackey regains his form that he had with the Angels, Boston would immediately have the best starting staff in the East.
And it would hurt the Yankees. The Yankees desperately need to hold on to Kuroda.
The Yankees are reeling right now between their embarrassing postseason exit, CC Sabathia’s elbow woes and Michael Pineda’s shoulder issues. If the Yankees were to lose their most dependable starter from last season, it would really inflict some damage on the aging New York roster.
Kuroda is likely to be agreeable to a one or two year deal given his age. He has shown he can pitch in the American League and against the other teams in the division.
Boston has a second chance to make amends for last winter. Hiring John Farrell was the first correction that the team has made and signing Hiroki Kuroda could be the next step in rebuilding the Sox.