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Hiroki Kuroda has had an outstanding career.
If the Giants can't land a free-agent pitcher on a long-term deal, their best alternative would be to turn to a short-term solution like Hiroki Kuroda.
The Giants' farm system is absolutely loaded with pitching prospects at the lower levels of the minor leagues. Kyle Crick, Edwin Escobar, Adalberto Mejia, Chris Stratton, Clayton Blackburn and Kendry Flores are some of the minor leaguers who could eventually pitch in the San Francisco rotation. However, other than Escobar, none of the Giants' top arms have pitched above A-ball.
One way to bridge the gap between now and when the cavalry comes would be to sign Kuroda, or another veteran like Bronson Arroyo, to a short-term deal.
Kuroda will be 39 next season, but he's shown little sign of slowing down. He posted a 3.31 ERA in 2013 after posting a 3.32 ERA in 2012.
Arroyo, who will be 37 in 2013, may command a longer deal than Kuroda. He's gone 26-22 with a 3.76 ERA since the beginning of 2012 for the Reds.
Like Santana and fellow free-agent hurler Phil Hughes, Arroyo is a fly-ball pitcher who has had struggles with the long ball in the past. AT&T Park would be a much better fit for his skill set than hitter-friendly Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati.
The Giants need to add two starting pitchers behind Bumgarner and Cain this winter. They want to bring Lincecum back, and re-signing him would fill one need. If they can get him signed, they'll still need to add one more guy to improve a rotation that was suddenly one of the worst in the game last season.
The Giants need to get better starting pitching to get back into contention in 2014. Excellent starting pitching was the key to bringing the organization two championships in three seasons from 2010-12.
To make up 16 games on the Dodgers in one offseason, the Giants need to get back to shutting down the opposition by building an outstanding rotation this winter.