Free agent starter Hiroki Kuroda was long thought to be deciding between the Yankees, returning to Japan, or retiring. Last week, he decided that he would sign on with the Hiroshima Toyo Carp of NPB. Hiroshima is where it all started for the soon-to-be 40-year-old. Starting at age 22, he gave the club eleven seasons and pitched to a 3.69 ERA with 6.7 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9. Here’s today’s look at the AL East..
- Even after missing out on Jon Lester, the Red Sox are in remarkably good shape for 2015, opines John Tomase of the Boston Herald. Boston’s offense – now bolstered by the acquisitions of Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval – could vault them from the bottom in 2014 to the top in the coming year. There are still question marks about the starting five, of course, but there will be no power shortage at Fenway this year.
- The Orioles’ outfielder options are dwindling, writes Steve Melewski of MASNsports.com. Melewski still sees free agent Nori Aoki as a fit for the O’s, but their interest appears to be lukewarm in him and there hasn’t been much buzz on him overall. Melewski sees Aoki as a good fit for his batting average, on-base percentage, and decent defense, and notes that he would come at an affordable rate. Failing that, he suggests that the O’s can turn to the trade block. Last night, in a poll asking MLBTR readers to choose the best available free agent position player remaining, Aoki was edged out by Asdrubal Cabrera.
- Orioles outfielder Steve Pearce has an opportunity to turn himself into a prized free agent following the 2015 season, writes Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com. If the O’s don’t make a move between now and Opening Day, Pearce remains their most viable option in right field and with another step forward, he could be a hot commodity this time next year. Pearce batted .327/.405/.704 in 111 plate appearances against left-handers in 2013 and a redux could lead to a very healthy payday.