Free Agent Stock Watch: Hiroki Kuroda

If Hiroki Kuroda's strong start becomes a strong season, as the numbers suggest it can, he may become one of baseball's most coveted free agent starters this winter.

The Japanese righty is quietly off to a strong start in 2010. Seven outings into the season Kuroda's 4-1 record and 2.66 ERA catch the eye, and his peripheral stats suggest he can maintain this kind of production. He's striking out more batters than usual and inducing more grounders. And unlike some pitchers off to hot starts, Kuroda's ERA isn't low because he strands all his baserunners or has an unsustainable home run rate.

Kuroda's age (35) will work against him as a free agent, but he has been relatively durable since joining the Dodgers in 2008. He made 31 starts in his rookie season, but missed some time last year with an oblique injury. He also missed time after getting hit in the head with a line drive, but you can't hold that against him.

Kuroda's three year $35.3MM deal expires after the season, and he'll hit free agency alongside Cliff Lee, Javier Vazquez and the rest of this winter's class. Vazquez is off to a slow start, Lee missed most of April and Brandon Webb has yet to pitch at all. Given Kuroda's age, it's hard to imagine a team committing to him long-term, but it's not hard to imagine Kuroda drawing interest from ten clubs this winter.

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7 Comments on "Free Agent Stock Watch: Hiroki Kuroda"

5 years 3 months ago

Don’t the Dodgers have arbitration rights to Kuroda like they would any other player after a few years? He isn’t available to hit the free agent market like anybody else.

5 years 3 months ago

Kuroda has it in his contract that he will be a free agent after this season.

East Coast Bias
5 years 3 months ago

I’ve always liked Kuroda. He always seems to slide under the radar, yet puts up stellar numbers consistently.

5 years 3 months ago

West Coast hate and Kuroda has been hurt alot. But when hes healthy hes the best pitcher on the Dodgers. Yes better than kershaw at the moment IMO

5 years 3 months ago

I’d say he winds up staying one way or the other—oh wait this is that team ran by the McCourts. Thanks for the 3 years, Hiroki!

5 years 3 months ago

The dodgers should move him at the trade deadline. Maybe they can get a major league ready player they can keep under contract. In a perfect world the Dodgers resign Kuroda, but that is not likely.

5 years 3 months ago

Im not so crazy about Kuroda, he’s been a .500 pitcher, making 13mil this season. its not worth it to resign him in my opinion. he’s a good number 3 starter, but i would rather redirect that 13mil and go up to maybe 18 or 19mil. to get a proven ace, not a 15 year old whose just starting to figure out the major leagues