Hiroki Kuroda: Pitcher Looks to be Possibly Traded From the Dodgers to Rangers
Monday July 25, 2011
MLB reports: One of the most underrated pitchers in the game is currently on the auction block. Los Angeles Dodgers hurler, Hiroki Kuroda, is currently being shopped to major league teams as the July 31st trade deadline is nearly upon us. The 36-year old Kuroda has been very consistent since joining the Dodgers, enjoying solid numbers despite a constant lack of run support. With a no-trade clause, Kuroda has the ability to refuse a trade in remain in the Los Angeles for the rest of the season. But with demand high for the hurler and teams likely to offer incentives (in the $1-$2 million range), it appears that Kuroda will be changing addresses in the next six days.
A veteran of the Nippon Professional Baseball League, Kuroda played from 1997-2007 with the Hiroshima Toyo Carp in Japan before coming over to North America. As a free agent outside of the posting system, Kuroda was free to sign with any major league team. In 2007, Kuroda signed a 3-year, $35.3 million contract with the Dodgers and last offseason re-signed for 1-year, $12 million. A look at his major league numbers show that Kuroda has been a solid and dependable veteran:
|162 Game Avg.||11||14||3.52||207||197||49||152||1.186|
The teams that have pursued Kuroda are the Cleveland Indians, Texas Rangers, New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Milwaukee Brewers, Detroit Tigers, St. Louis Cardinals and Cincinnati Reds. Looking at the numbers, I don’t blame them. In some ways the second coming of Hideo Nomo, Kuroda may not be as flashy but he has been dependable. Except for 2009 when he suffered through injuries, Kuroda has pitched close to 200 innings every season since joining the Dodgers. This year has been one of Kuroda’s finest, with a 3.19 ERA and 1.220 WHIP, which have only led him to a 6-12 record on a meek Dodgers squad. With better run support, his record could easily be 12-6. Now with July 31st rapidly approaching, people are wondering whether a) Kuroda will waive his no-trade clause; and b) which team will acquire him.
I am surprised that more teams are not pursuing the hurler. With so few quality starters available at exorbitant prices, including Ubaldo Jimenez of the Rockies and James Shields of the Rays, Kuroda may be the best and most affordable quality starter available to a team that needs a starting pitcher for its stretch run. While Jimenez and Shields will take approximately 3 top prospects, Kuroda may only take 1 or 2 decent prospects. Not a high price to pay considering what a team will get back in return.
From the names thrown around, I would see the Texas Rangers and Detroit Tigers having the best chance to land Hiroki Kuroda, with the Rangers being the most likely to win the Kuroda derby. The Rangers have a great farm system and many solid prospects for the Dodgers to choose from. As well, the Rangers give Kuroda the best chance of winning a championship, having made it last year to the World Series. Other teams will surely take a run at the hurler, especially the Yankees and Red Sox. But when push comes to shove, expect Kuroda to grab his cowboy hat and boots and head to the lone star state. We don’t profess to have a crystal ball and anything can happen this week. The Los Angeles Dodgers will base their final decision on receiving full salary relief and the best prospects in return for their star pitcher. It is always fun to speculate at the trade deadline time. Let’s see which team ultimately offers the best package to acquire one of baseball’s best Japanese imports: Hiroki Kuroda.
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Posted on July 26, 2011, in MLB Player Profiles and tagged baseball, brewers, cardinals, dodgers, jimenez, kuroda, mlb, nippon, nomo, rangers, rays, reds, redsox, rockies, shields, tigers. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.