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Yankees “more upbeat” about potential return of free agent right-hander Hiroki Kuroda

Nov 24, 2013, 10:32 AM EDT

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The Yankees signed free agent catcher Brian McCann to a five-year, $85 million contract on Saturday evening. And there may be more positive developments on the way for Bronx Bombers fans.

Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes Sunday that the Yankees’ higher-ups “have moved from gloomy early in the offseason to more upbeat that Hiroki Kuroda will return for another year.” The free agent right-hander turns 39 years old in February and was thought to be considering a return to his native Japan. If the Yankees can get him back on a low-risk one-year pact, it’d take some pressure off a pitching-needy team in a market without frontline options.

Kuroda struggled down the stretch in 2013, but he still wound up with a cool 3.31 ERA (122 ERA+) in 201 1/3 innings for the season and he boasts a 3.24 ERA over his last 623 major league frames.

  1. pastabelly - Nov 24, 2013 at 10:58 AM

    I can see them signing Ellsbury, Nathan, Arroyo, Drew and Cano and being content with their off season.

    • uyf1950 - Nov 24, 2013 at 11:13 AM

      I have to respectively disagree with you. I don’t see the Yankees investing either the years or the dollars in Ellsbury. Besides Beltran is a much better option in both dollars and years. Nathan’s a possibility but I think they might go for the slightly less expensive Balfour or the much less expensive Mujica. Arroyo and Drew are both non issues in my opinion.

      I saved Cano for last because more and more I’m beginning to believe that the chances of re-signing Cano are no better then 60-40 and will drop below 50% if the Yankees sign Beltran or Choo. If they do sign one of those players I can see the Yankees going after Infante for 2nd base. If A-Rod gest suspended for the entire season I see the Yankees turning their attention to Uribe or possibly re-signing Reynolds.

      • pastabelly - Nov 24, 2013 at 12:06 PM

        Ellsbury is a better player than Choo. As for Balfour/Nathan , Nathan is a proven closer. We ‘ll see on Tanaka. Arroyo is actually a safer bet than Kuroda, who is a bit older and showed his age the final third of the season. The Red Sox should try to hold onto Ellsbury, but not at more than 6/128.

      • uyf1950 - Nov 24, 2013 at 12:24 PM

        pastabelly, you will have to forgive but with the exception of you comment on Nathan being a proven closer we are just going to have to agree to disagree on the rest.

        Ellsbury may or may not be better than Choo. But as far as the Yankees are concerned they are not looking for a Center Fielder with is what Ellsbury is. They would be in need of a right fielder a position that is Choo’s natural position. Making Choo a better fit for the Yankees in years, money and natural position.

      • spudchukar - Nov 24, 2013 at 1:53 PM

        UYF, my friend, can’t Gardner play CF?

      • uyf1950 - Nov 24, 2013 at 3:50 PM

        Spudchukar my buddy, that’s exactly where Gardner has been playing CF. and will stay. Right now with the players on the roster the Yankees are set in CF with Gardner, Soriano in LF and Wells/Ichiro in RF. Obviously the Yankees are looking to upgrade RF that’s why all the talk about the Yankees and Beltran or Choo.

        Like I’ve mentioned previously I prefer Beltran for a couple of reasons not the least of which is he’s used to NY he’s expressed a desire to play for the Yankees in previous years and he will come with a need for fewer years.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Nov 24, 2013 at 2:16 PM

      They aren’t signing Drew. They tried last year but he wanted to be a full time starter. With Jeter re-signed and Ryan already on board, he’s not going to sign in a place where he plays part time, and doesn’t need to. And good lord why the hell would they sign Bronson Arroyo? It was bad enough with Hughes’s HR problems, now they are going to sign someone even worse?

  2. uyf1950 - Nov 24, 2013 at 11:02 AM

    While getting Kuroda back on a 1 year deal for $15MM +/- would be a step in the right direction the Yankees still would need to shore up their starting rotation for 2014 and Tanaka would be the ideal candidate to do that assume the powers to be ever get the posting situation straightened out. Since only Tanaka’s contract estimated at about $10MM per and not the posting fee would be charged to a teams luxury tax calculation.

    But as it would stand now with Kuroda but not Tanaka the Yankees would be marching out in 2014 a starting rotation of: CC, Kuroda, Nova, Phelps and probably Pineda. To many question marks with Phelps and Pineda as of right now. The Yankees definitely need another “quality” starter.

    • cackalackyank - Nov 24, 2013 at 6:11 PM

      I agree about the need for another starter (?s). Lots of question marks abound, not the least of which is, was Sabathia’s poor 2013 an aberration due to the elbow procedure in the previous off season, or an ominous portent? I agree that Kuroda should be brought back. My question is whether or not Kuroda should be slotted as the fifth guy due to the definite “out of gas” phenomenon he displayed down the stretch. If slotted #5 then he would not get as many starts until May. The Tanaka situation is tricky because of the posting process snag, and the Cano $ conundrum. The Cano $ situation seems to be taking a back seat for now. It would be nice to get him but just how long is Cashman supposed keep juggling all those variables? At least the McCann signing took a big one out of the mix.

      • uyf1950 - Nov 24, 2013 at 7:14 PM

        Based on a starting rotation of: CC, Nova, Kuroda, Phelps and Pineda I would have to think Kuroda would either be the #2 or #3 starter at worst at least out of the gate.

        If the Yankees were also able to get Tanaka BEFORE the season starts the final spot I’m sure would be a competition between Pineda and Phelps and maybe Warren.

  3. NYTolstoy - Nov 24, 2013 at 12:03 PM

    My only concern with Kuroda is that he started to look tired in late August into September. He was solid the first four months, but he’s age obviously showed by the end. Hope it was just a fluke, but the Yankees should have more of a back up just in case.

    • jayquintana - Nov 24, 2013 at 4:25 PM

      Seems like Kuroda would’ve benefited a lot had he been given two weeks of rest mid-season. Concessions have to be made for his age, after all.

      • cackalackyank - Nov 25, 2013 at 8:33 AM

        I don’t think it’s practical to give a starter of Kuroda’s caliber a couple weeks off in the middle of the season. Since there are lots of days off at the start of the season there usually isn’t a need for a five man rotation until sometime in May. So, theoretically he could slot #5 until the All star break, serving as the “long man” out of the pen through April, joining the rotation in May. It might avoid him running out of gas down the stretch like he did last year.

  4. twenty1miles - Nov 24, 2013 at 12:11 PM

    Would love to have Kuroda back and acquire Tanaka. That would give a rotation of:

    CC, Kuroda, Tanaka, Nova, Phelps/Pineda/Warren?/Nuno?

    Seems pretty solid, and the depth is there to spell Kuroda every so often to if need be. I’m more upbeat than most regarding Pineda, I think he can still really contribute. Hopefully CC rebounds from an awful year.

  5. pastabelly - Nov 24, 2013 at 3:34 PM

    Arroyo > Hughes. Not even close.

    • uyf1950 - Nov 24, 2013 at 3:58 PM

      Not in Yankees Stadium he wouldn’t be. Arroyo making about 15 starts in Yankees stadium with him allowing HR’s would be a receipt for disaster.

      His last 7 seasons with Cinn.
      In 2007 HR’s allowed: 28
      In 2008 HR’s allowed: 29
      In 2009 HR’s allowed: 31
      In 2010 HR’s allowed: 29
      In 2011 HR’s allowed: 46
      In 2012 HR’s allowed: 26
      In 2013 HR’s allowed: 32

      And that’s in a league without a DH. He would be an unmitigated disaster in NY’s Yankees Stadium.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Nov 24, 2013 at 4:25 PM

      Last three years:

      Arroyo – 4.19 ERA; 94 ERA+; 603 IP, 9.5 H/9, 1.6 HR/9, 1.7 BB/9, 5.4 K/9, 3.17 K:BB
      Hughes – 4.85 ERA; 86 ERA+; 411.2 IP, 9.8 H/9, 1.5 HR/9, 2.5 BB/9, 7.3 K/9, 2.90 K:BB

      Considering Hughes didnt get to pitch against opposing pitchers, his peripherals are roughly the same as Arroyo’s. He’s also younger and has far more upside, of which Arroyo has none.

  6. jfk69 - Nov 24, 2013 at 10:41 PM

    The Yankees will be in on everything only to drive the price up for Boston. and everybody else.
    Kuroda resigns 1 year chance..part time player issues and position filled with three shortstops
    Cano..jay z says yes No other team willing to pay and NY jay z will look like a fool if it doesn’t happen over a couple of million
    Nathan No doubt as Girardi doesn’t trust Robinson as a full time closer. Remember Soriano.
    Tanaka..The Yankees will go big as posting fee doesn’t count against cap. Very possible they win the bid.
    Beltran and Choo…Depends on price,years and cap space. Not a big need.
    and now third base
    Depending on how many games Arod gets suspended for. They will look to Chavez and Mark Reynolds. Mark can back up at first as well. Nunez can also play third.
    They will also look at trading for another proven cap friendly starter as they will have some young major league pitching and catching under team control when all said and done

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