MLB Free Agency: Yankees Should Sign Hiroki Kuroda for Starting Rotation

Doug Rush@Doug_RushSenior Analyst IDecember 19, 2011

ST. LOUIS, MO - AUGUST 24: Starter Hiroki Kuroda #18 of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitches against St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on August 24, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri.  The Dodgers beat the Cardinals 9-4.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

Seasons greetings, fellow Yankee fans and Bleacher Report readers.

It's been a rather quiet shopping period for the Yankees since free agency began and some have wondered if the Yankees will make any type of a significant move.

There have been teams out there who have tried to bait the Yankees into trading their top prospects for starting pitching.

The Oakland A's wanted Jesus Montero and Dellin Betances in a deal for lefty starter Gio Gonzalez.

The Chicago White Sox also requested the same thing in exchange for lefty John Danks.

Both moves have wisely been shot down by Yankees GM Brian Cashman because neither trade would benefit the Yankees.

I had suggested Chicago Cubs starter Matt Garza, but it looks like the Cubs and San Diego Padres are in discussions to deal Garza out west in a deal for first basemen Anthony Rizzo, the former Boston Red Sox prospect, so that essentially would take out getting Garza.

The only pitchers I would consider trading Jesus Montero and Dellin Betances for are Seattle Mariners ace Felix Hernandez, (and we know Seattle has been ultra resistant in wanting to deal their best pitcher), Los Angeles Dodgers ace and reigning Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw or San Francisco Giants ace Tim Lincecum.

So unless teams lower their trade demands for the Yankees prospects, Cashman may not be making a trade this winter, unless he's looking to get completely robbed in a deal.

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So that really goes back to the free-agent market, which had several key players taken off it this month.

C.J. Wilson signed with the Angels and Mark Buehrle signed with the Marlins.

There is Roy Oswalt, but I know the Yankees are very hesitant about him given his recent back problems.

And then there is Edwin Jackson, who is pretty mediocre at best and should really stay in the National League.

So, who's out there? There is one name that the Yankees are keeping an eye on.

According to Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated, WFAN and CBS Sports, the Yankees really like former Dodgers pitcher Hiroki Kuroda.

The Yankees were interested in Kuroda this past summer, but Kuroda had a full no-trade clause that he was not willing to waive to pitch on the East Coast.

Originally, Kuroda wanted to return to the Dodgers, but with them bringing in Chris Capuano and Aaron Harang, there is no room for Kuroda in their rotation anymore.

So now with the Dodgers out of the loop, Kuroda's mind changed and he's definitely willing to pitch on the East Coast, something that definitely puts the Yankees in play.

Kuroda, who will turn 37 when the 2012 season begins, was 13-16 with a 3.07 ERA in 32 starts for the Dodgers in 2011.

PHOENIX, AZ - SEPTEMBER 27:  Starting pitcher Hiroki Kuroda #18 of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitches against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the Major League Baseball game at Chase Field on September 27, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Peters
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

He's a power pitcher who can throw anywhere from 91-95 miles per hour and features a fastball, slider and splitter, which could help in Yankee Stadium if he gets a lot of ground-ball outs.

Kuroda's numbers might not jump out at you, but he could easily be a very solid No. 3 option in the Yankees' rotation behind CC Sabathia and Ivan Nova.

Kuroda is asking for somewhere around $12-13 million for a contract, which may be a little high for the Yankees' liking.

I could see a scenario of a one-year, $11 million deal or a two-year, $20 deal for Kuroda. Nothing long term, but hopefully they can find some middle ground on a contract.

Over the summer, I wasn't crazy about the Yankees attempting to trade for Kuroda.

But if getting Kuroda means the Yankees don't have to trade away Betances, Manny Bauelos or Montero, then I think it's a good signing for the short term, and the long term.

Cashman isn't going to make a crazy move to hurt the team's future by making a ridiculous trade for an overrated pitcher.

I know most of you are still hoping the Yankees make that gigantic splash that will net them an ace pitcher in return.

Unless something drastic happens, I don't think that move is coming and we're all going to have to wait for the development of Betances and Banuelos to continue.

But a move for Kuroda that will not cost them any prospects and only money would not be a bad move for 2012.

Stay tuned, Yankees Universe.