As we approach the New Year, Hiroki Kuroda stands as one of the most attractive starters remaining on the open market. The possibilities for Kuroda seemed to be rather limited when the offseason began but are now wide open.
The hurler’s stated preference for remaining in Los Angeles led to him blocking deals that would have shipped him to a contender over the summer. Even though Kuroda wanted to work out a new deal with the Dodgers, their financial restrictions led them to spend elsewhere and sign Chris Capuano to a highly back loaded deal.
Now, Kuroda is reportedly willing to listen to offers from all suitors, though it seems that he would prefer to remain on the West Coast. The right-hander is after a $12-$13MM annual salary and at his age (37 in February), he won’t be seeking a long-term commitment.
The Yankees and Red Sox, two teams who were pushing for him in July, are said to be in the mix. The Diamondbacks and Rockies would each like to keep him in the NL West, though both clubs are budget-conscious as they look for a starter. Kuroda was reportedly close to signing somewhere last week but all of the aforementioned teams plus the Rangers and Mariners said that it wasn’t with them. Of course, there’s always the possibility that he’ll make his long-rumored return to the Hiroshima Carp. So, where do you see Kuroda landing?