Hiroki Kuroda: Is A Return To LA In His Future?

Monday November 19, 2012

Kyle Holland: The 2012 season should have been a great season for the Dodgers.  They had Matt Kemp and Clayton Kershaw on the opening day roster. In mid July they traded for Hanley Ramirez and at the trade deadline added Shane Victorino to the squad.  If that team wasn’t elite enough, they traded for Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, and Carl Crawford in August. Even with all these additions, they were unable to qualify for the playoffs and they started to look forward to 2013 real early.

Now in 2012-13 offseason they are reportedly trying to sign Hiroki Kuroda, a pitcher who has played a good chunk of his career with the Dodgers.

Kuroda played with the club from 2008-2011m when he left Japan, until this past season when he signed with the Yankees. He finished the 2012 campaign in New York with a 16-11 record and a 3.32 ERA.  He started in just one less game than in 2011m when he finished with a 13-16 record but with a 3.07 ERA.  Depending on which way you look at stats, either season could have been better. If you look at the sabermetric way, 2011 was better with the lower ERA. If you look at the old way, 2012 was better with more wins.

Back to this offseason, Kuroda turned down the Yankees qualifying offer of $13.3 million for 1 year, officially making him a free agent. There was much speculation by other teams that if he didn’t resign with New York, that  he would be heading back to his native Japan.

 It has indeed been reported that Kuroda’s first choice isn’t to go back to pitch in NPBL. He has told his friends that his first desire is to pitch in southern California where his kids are going to elementary school.  This is going to give the Dodgers and Angels much of an advantage to sign him.

Even though the Yankees desperately want him back in New York, the Dodgers seem to have a great chance to initiate a reunion. The only reason the Dodgers couldn’t resign him last season is because of the cheapness of the owners. That’s clearly not a problem now. When Magic Johnson bought the Dodgers their payroll skyrocketed and now they are sometimes referred to as “Yankees West.”  If they can afford the contracts of Gonzalez, Beckett, and Crawford, they can sign Hiroki Kuroda.

The rumor is he is only seeking a one-year deal.  This would be perfect for the Dodgers as there is a chance that Chad Billingsley will have to undergo Tommy John surgery. Even if he does have the procedure performed on his elbow, he will be ready sometime in 2014. Kuroda is a good option to take his spot during the 2013 season and if even they don’t resign him for 2014,  they will have Billingsley coming back.

Now because he already has experience in the Dodger blue, they seem like they should have an edge over the Angels. Another question is if the Angels will even have any interest in him. They are going to need someone to take Grienke’s spot in the rotation with him most likely not resigning, but it doesn’t seem likely it will be Kuroda. It is starting to seem more and more likely that a reunion is in the near future for Kuroda and the LA Dodgers.

(*The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com*)

Welcome our newest Baseball Intern, Kyle Holland! You can find Kyle on Twitter (@TheKHolland13) – be sure to follow him and send all your comments!

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Posted on November 19, 2012, in The Rest: Everything Baseball and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Any chance he comes to the Rangers or Padres?

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