Hiroki Kuroda Rumors

SoCal Links: Walden, Angels, Fujikawa, Field, Kuroda

The Angels finalized their contract with Ryan Madson today, but here's some more out of Southern California…


AL East Notes: Hale, Swisher, Kuroda, Orioles

It was on this day in 1977 that Rich "Goose" Gossage signed a six-year, $2.75MM free agent contract with the Yankees.  The Goose lived up to that then-exorbitant deal, posting a 2.10 ERA and saving 150 games over those six seasons, notching three top-five finishes in Cy Young Award voting and helping New York win the 1978 World Series.  Gossage went into the Hall Of Fame as a Yankee in 2008.

Here's the latest from New York and elsewhere in the AL East…

  • DeMarlo Hale is "likely" going to be the Blue Jays' next bench coach, a source tells MLB.com's Brittany Ghiroli (Twitter link).  Hale served as the Orioles' third base coach in 2012 and was interviewed as a managerial candidate by the Jays two years ago before Toronto hired John Farrell.  Hale's contract may be for three years, reports MASNsports.com's Roch Kubatko.
  • The Red Sox have Nick Swisher "on their radar," a source tells George A. King III of the New York Post.  At least seven teams are known to be interested in Swisher, whose ability to switch-hit and play both first base and right field is a boon to many clubs.  King hears from an industry source who believes Swisher could find a four-year, $60MM contract, though with that many teams and big markets in the running, it wouldn't surprise me to see that number jump to between $65-$70MM in guaranteed money.
  • Other teams were offering Hiroki Kuroda more expensive and longer-term deals with player options than the one-year, $15MM contract he signed with the Yankees, reports Wallace Matthews of ESPN New York.  Kuroda took the relatively smaller deal with New York due to his familiarity with the city and his desire to keep his options open next winter for a possible return to Japan.  Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitter link) notes that Kuroda has left money on the table for each of the four contracts he's signed in his Major League career.    
  • The Orioles were interested in Jonny Gomes but are "not too heartbroken" that Gomes has signed with Boston, reports Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun.  The O's prefer to use the money earmarked for Gomes to re-sign Nate McLouth instead.
  • In AL East news from earlier today, Josh Johnson's agent Matt Sosnick discussed the possibility of his client signing an extension with the Blue Jays.

Quick Hits: Figgins, Lohse, Hamilton, Kuroda

It was on this day in 1995 that Joe Girardi first became a Yankee, as the Bronx Bombers acquired the catcher from the Rockies in exchange for right-hander Mike DeJean.  Girardi won three World Series titles in his four seasons with the team as a player and won another championship as the team's manager in 2009.  Here are some items from around the majors…



Yankees Sign Hiroki Kuroda

The Yankees have retained their most consistent starter from 2012 as the club has announced that it has re-signed Hiroki Kuroda to a one-year contract.  ESPN's Buster Olney reports that Kuroda's contract is worth $15MM (plus incentives worth less than $1MM) and was the first to break the news that Kuroda had agreed to terms with New York (Twitter links).  Kuroda is represented by the Octagon agency.

I am very happy and excited to re-sign with the Yankees,” said Kuroda.  “I am very grateful for all of the interest and all of the offers that I received from the various teams that courted me.  It was a tough decision for me to make, but at the end of the day, I wanted to try to win a championship with the teammates that I went to battle with last season.”

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Kuroda was seen as fairly likely to re-sign with New York entering the offseason, and indeed, it was reported earlier today that the Yankees were "very confident" about their chances of retaining the Japanese veteran.  MLBTR's Tim Dierkes ranked Kuroda as the ninth-best free agent on the market this winter and correctly predicted that he would re-sign with the Yankees. 

The righty did turn down a one-year, $13.3MM qualifying offer from the Yanks a few weeks ago, assuming (correctly) that he could find a richer deal on the open market.  Kuroda's list of suitors included such MLB teams as the Red Sox, Angels and Dodgers, plus Japanese teams, as Kuroda has said that he would like to eventually finish his career by returning to pitch in his native country.

After four years with the Dodgers, Kuroda signed a one-year, $10MM free agent contract with the Yankees last January and made a strong transition to the AL East, posting a 3.32 ERA and 3.27 K/BB ratio in 33 starts.  Kuroda turns 38 years old in February but seems to be as durable as ever, pitching a career-best 219 2/3 innings in 2012.  His return will bring some stability to a Yankee rotation that has a lot of question marks given CC Sabathia's recent injury problems, Phil Hughes and Ivan Nova's up-and-down performances and Andy Pettitte again considering retirement. 

Photo courtesy of Anthony Gruppuso/US Presswire


Yankees Agree To Terms With Hiroki Kuroda

The Yankees have retained their most consistent starter from 2012 as the club has agreed to terms on a one-year, $15MM contract with Hiroki Kuroda, reports ESPN's Buster Olney (Twitter links).  Kuroda is represented by the Octagon agency. Uspw_6648978

Kuroda was seen as fairly likely to re-sign with New York entering the offseason, and indeed, it was reported earlier today that the Yankees were "very confident" about their chances of retaining the Japanese veteran.  The righty did turn down a one-year, $13.3MM qualifying offer from the Yanks a few weeks ago, assuming (correctly) that he could find a richer deal on the open market.  Kuroda's list of suitors included such MLB teams as the Red Sox, Angels and Dodgers, plus Japanese teams, as Kuroda has said that he would like to eventually finish his career by returning to pitch in his native country.

After four years with the Dodgers, Kuroda signed a one-year, $10MM free agent contract with the Yankees last January and made a strong transition to the AL East, posting a 3.32 ERA and 3.27 K/BB ratio in 33 starts.  Kuroda turns 38 years old in February but seems to be as durable as ever, pitching a career-best 219 2/3 innings in 2012.  His return will bring some stability to a Yankee rotation that has a lot of question marks given CC Sabathia's recent injury problems, Phil Hughes and Ivan Nova's up-and-down performances and Andy Pettitte again considering retirement. 

MLBTR's Tim Dierkes ranked Kuroda as the ninth-best free agent on the market this winter and correctly predicted that he would re-sign with the Yankees.

Photo courtesy of Anthony Gruppuso/US Presswire


Yankees Favored To Sign Kuroda; L.A. Teams Out

5:12pm: The Dodgers "are not in" on Kuroda, an industry source tells Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News (Twitter link).  Feinsand adds that the Angels appear to be out of the running for Kuroda as well.

4:00pm: The Yankees are seen as the favorites to sign free agent starter Hiroki Kuroda, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports. In fact the Yankees are "very confident" they'll sign Kuroda, according to ESPN.com's Jayson Stark. Stark suggests Kuroda will pitch for the Yankees if he's pitching in MLB next year. However, Heyman reports that the Yankees sense a threat from Japan, where Kuroda pitched before joining MLB.

The Dodgers, Angels and Red Sox have also expressed interest in Kuroda, who is linked to draft pick compensation after declining a qualifying offer from the Yankees. It appears the Dodgers and Angels are shifting their focus elsewhere, Stark writes. The Dodgers are now pursuing Zack Greinke, Anibal Sanchez, Ryan Dempster and others, according to Stark. The Angels are also targeting Greinke.

The Yankees feel good about talks with Mariano Rivera so far, Heyman reports (on Twitter). They still haven't officially heard whether Andy Pettitte intends to return for another season in 2013.


Quick Hits: Kuroda, Pagan, Reyes, Buehrle

Here's the latest from around baseball as we head into the weekend…

  • Hiroki Kuroda has told friends that his preference is to pitch in southern California to be near his daughters' grade school, reports Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles.  Saxon speculates this could make the Dodgers and Angels the favorites for Kuroda's services, with the Dodgers having the "presumptive edge" with Kuroda due to their past history.
  • Angel Pagan could sign before the start of the Winter Meetings on December 3, reports FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal.  Pagan's suitors include "many of the same clubs" who are interested in fellow free agent B.J. Upton, a market that includes the Phillies, Braves and Nationals.  The Giants are also in the mix to bring Pagan back to San Francisco.
  • Also from Rosenthal, the Marlins made verbal promises to Jose Reyes and Mark Buehrle that neither would be traded when Miami was courting the two as free agents last winter.  The promises were made in place of formal no-trade clauses, which the Marlins don't hand out as a matter of club policy.  Reyes and Buehrle, of course, were traded to the Blue Jays on Tuesday as part of the big 12-player deal that has yet to be officially confirmed by the league.
  • Right-hander Ramon Ramirez will no longer be represented by the ACES agency, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.  Ramirez is the latest of several players to recently switch from ACES, which may be due to MLB's ongoing investigation of the agency for its alleged role in the Melky Cabrera fake website scandal, though the players' union cleared ACES earlier this month.
  • Dodgers president Stan Kasten discussed such topics as his plans for the club's minor league system, his career history and MLB labor issues with Ken Davidoff of the New York Post.
  • Rangers GM Jon Daniels talked with Michael Moye (Josh Hamilton's agent) earlier this week, reports Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, though it seems as if both sides were just checking in on the other.
  • The Blue Jays have generated the most headlines of any team this offseason, but FOX Sports' Jon Paul Morosi notes some of the holes the Jays still have to fill.

Angels Interested In Hiroki Kuroda

3:16pm: The Angels are interested in Kuroda but only as a fall-back option in case they're unable to re-sign Zack Greinke, reports MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez. They probably can't afford to sign both right-handers.

12:02pm: The Angels have joined the Yankees, Dodgers, and Red Sox as teams with interest in Hiroki Kuroda, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. The Yankees are still negotiating and hope to bring him back for 2013 before he finishes his career in Japan, which the right-hander says he will do.

Kuroda, 37, pitched to a 3.32 ERA in a career-high 219 2/3 innings for New York this season. He's open to signing another one-year contract so he can remain flexible and return to Japan after the season, if he chooses. The Yankees made Kuroda a qualifying offer and would receive draft pick compensation if he signs with another team.

Tim Dierkes ranked Kuroda as the ninth best free agent in his Top 50 Free Agents List, predicting he would re-sign with New York.


AL Links: Sanchez, Hunter, Yankees, Price, Red Sox

With Torii Hunter joining the club on a two-year deal, the Tigers will now focus on re-signing Anibal Sanchez according to Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com. They're unlikely to pursue another big name pitcher if they can't bring the right-hander back, however. Here's the latest from the American League, starting with some more on Hunter…

  • Hunter told teams he wasn't interested in talking to them unless things didn't work out with the Tigers, reports Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com (on Twitter).
  • The Yankees saw Hunter as a good fit but never made him an offer, reports Erik Boland of Newsday (on Twitter). They don't have any offers out to position players at the moment and are focused on re-signing Hiroki Kuroda and Mariano Rivera.
  • Hunter would have taken less than $26MM he received from Detroit to re-sign with the Angels, but a one-year contract was a non-starter at any price according to Bill Shaikin of The Los Angeles Times (on Twitter).
  • Knobler listed the pros and cons of trading David Price just a few hours after the left-hander took home the Cy Young Award. Some people with the Rays even identified the Rangers as the ideal trade partner.
  • The Red Sox won't alter their rebuilding plan in the wake of the Blue Jays-Marlins blockbuster, said GM Ben Cherington to WEEI.com's Rob Bradford. "We know we have a plan this offseason and we're going to see how much we can execute it … We've started that and we'll continue to do that," said Cherington, who mentioned he found out about the blockbuster through MLBTR.

Dodgers Notes: Hunter, Ryu, Bard, Kuroda

The latest on the Dodgers, who are in the midst of their first offseason under new ownership…

  • The Dodgers are out on Torii Hunter, according to Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles. The Braves, Rangers and Tigers all still have interest in Hunter, who appears to prefer an AL team.
  • GM Ned Colletti told Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports that the Dodgers are prioritizing the international market again under the team’s new ownership. “One area we really needed to accent immediately was international operations,” Colletti said. “We couldn’t wait another year to get involved there.” The Dodgers recently won the negotiating rights to Korean left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu with a bid of $25.7MM. 
  • The Dodgers announced that they signed six international scouts, including Patrick Guerrero. The team also announced that they hired former MLB catcher Josh Bard as a special assistant.
  • Ken Davidoff of the New York Post wonders which top free agent will sign next. Zack Greinke and Hiroki Kuroda seem like candidates to sign in the relatively near future, according to Davidoff, who believes that the Dodgers will bring Kuroda back to Los Angeles.

Steve Adams contributed to this post.