Two Quick Thoughts: Kuroda & Handedness

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Two things crossed my mind earlier on Thursday, and since they kinda go together I’m going to mash them up into one post…

(Photo Credit: Flickr user aaron haedt via Creative Commons license)

The Price For Kuroda

We’ve spent a lot of time talking about Hiroki Kuroda and whether or not he’d be a worthy add at the deadline, but we haven’t really tried to figure out what it would take to acquire him. The Dodgers say they want a young player, preferably a starting pitcher, but what they want and what they’ll ultimately get are not necessarily the same thing. It’s tough for us to figure out a far price from where we sit, which is why I try to look at what comparable players returned when they were dealt. As luck would have it, a comparable player was traded yesterday, when Edwin Jackson went from the White Sox to the Blue Jays.

Although Jackson is younger and cheaper, both he and Kuroda will be free agents at season’s end and have performed at a similar level since the start of last season. Just check out the table on the right for that info. In order to acquire Jackson, Toronto had to take on Mark Teahen’s terrible contract (another ~$2M this year plus $5.5M next year) and give up a serviceable middle reliever (Jason Frasor) plus their sixth best prospect coming into the year, non-top 100 guy Zach Stewart. Frasor can become a free agent after this season and projects to be a Type-B, so that’s a draft pick we should consider.

A Kuroda trade doesn’t have to follow that exact blueprint, but a serviceable, spare part big leaguer and a good but not great prospect appear to be the bare minimum asking price. Frankie Cervelli plus one of the Triple-A arms? Brandon Laird instead of Cervelli? Chris Dickerson? Greg Golson? The bad contract part (the Teahen equivalent) might not be a factor because Kuroda still has a lot of money on his deal ($6.8M) and will apparently require some compensation to waive his no-trade clause. The Jackson trade isn’t a perfect match for Kuroda, but it’s in the ballpark.

Left-Handed vs. Right-Handed

The Yankees really aren’t in a position to be all that picky when it comes to starting pitching help, but in a perfect world they’d prefer a left-hander to a right-hander. Yankee Stadium is pretty close to neutral for right-handed batters according to StatCorner’s park factors, but it obviously boosts the performance by lefties quite a bit. That’s pretty much the only reason the Yankees should favor a lefty over a righty, but even then we have to be talking about choosing between two similar pitchers. How often does that happen?

The idea of adding a lefty to matchup against the Red Sox sounds great in theory, but Boston actually hits left-handed pitchers (slightly) better than they do right-handers. Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis annihilate southpaws, enough to counteract the drop in production that Adrian Gonzalez and Jacoby Ellsbury experience against same-side batters (David Ortiz actually has a reverse split this year). The Yankees could very well run into the Rangers again in the postseason, and aside from Josh Hamilton, that lineup is significantly right-handed. Even if the Angels manage to make a run and sneak into the postseason, they’re very right-handed.

Given what’s available on the market, the Yankees don’t really have the option to add a lefty to their rotation. There’s Erik Bedard, but he’s the only one of note. The important thing is for them to get a quality pitcher first and foremost, handedness is secondary. It would be nice to add a southpaw, but only because of Yankee Stadium. The Red Sox have next to nothing to do with it.

Betances struggles in Trenton loss
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  • JobaWockeeZ

    If the Yankees get Kuroda by removing Cervelli which may bring up Montero that’s like killing 3 birds with one stone.

    • RIP Irabu


  • Zach

    Good thoughts Mike.

  • dkidd


    would you trade montero, bettances & nova for cole hamels?

    • JobaWockeeZ

      I’m not Mike but you jump on that.

      • dkidd


        phillie scouts watching bettances got me dreaming

        • Brooklyn Ed

          definitely same here, but if the Phillies want Romine instead of Montero… that’s ok too.

    • YankeesJunkie

      I would say no unless the Yankees were able to negotiate an extension for Hamels then I would sign up for that. However, I don’t think that will happen, but hopefully the Yankees are in Hamels sweepstakes rather than the Wilson sweepstakes.

    • Matt Imbrogno

      Yes, but the Phillies wouldn’t, especially not this year.

    • B-Rando

      The Phillies would hang up the phone on that one before Cashman even finished the question.

      Not even close.

      Oh yeah, and theres that whole they’ll probably end up winning the NL pennant too.

  • Zach

    CJ Wilson is a “type A” LHP FA. Would you pay market?

    • YankeesJunkie

      No, career year, wrong side of 30, history 4 BB/9, and not an elite starter. If you are going to pay big money you have to do it for big talent.

      • Ted Nelson

        Big money is all relevant. He’ll get paid, but we’ll have to see how much. With Jorge expiring Yankees have some cash to play with.

      • FIPster Doofus

        Since last season, Wilson has accrued enough fWAR (8.2) to sit right between Cole Hamels (8.4) and Jon Lester (7.6) despite pitching in an offense-friendly ballpark. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say Wilson is hovering near the elite. Does he have a super long track record? No. Nevertheless, he’s an excellent starter. I’ll be pretty happy if the Yankees sign him.

        -Eats innings
        -Good strikeout guy
        -Gets a lot of ground balls
        -Not a ton of wear on his arm

        • Ted Nelson

          Good points.

  • Nuke LaDoosh

    predicting very ninja like stealth move for Kershaw brings the Lefty. that’s why we’re not hearing anything about it now…it’s just completely ninja. montero, sanchez, betances, hughes and nova – I’d do it.

    • YankeesJunkie


      • Nuke LaDoosh

        yeah, me too

  • Rich in NJ

    The only pitchers I’d consider trading Montero for are Felix or Kershaw, and the chances of either being moved are close to 0.

  • ángel

    Try for Aramis? Take the $ and send Laird, Mitchell tÓ the cubs?

    • http://none Favrest

      Aramis is lazy, and he’s content to lose and get paid. Not a Yankee. They need guys with fire. I’d take Big Z just because I think he’d take Youk’s head off.

      • thumper

        except for the fact that Nova is statistically better, is hanging out in AAA (soon to start for the big league club), and isn’t a complete nut-job.

    • http://none Favrest

      Why would the Dodgers want Cervelli? We don’t want him.

  • Cuso

    I don’t understand why people are buying into the theory that Kuroda is a valuable commodity for us. Is he an upgrade over Hughes? Sure! But so is dropping Noesi in the rotation at this point.

    Great, he’s 36, a type-B FA and has pitched reasonably well in the NL West.

    Why give away ANYTHING for him? Whats the point? He’ll get shelled in Fenway & he’ll get shelled in Arlington. Keep him away.

    If you’re gonna make a trade, you go big or nothing at all. You get a young #2 that you have control over for a few years or you do nothing.

    Otherwise, you fill other holes. Loogy, or another bat for the bench/part time DH.

    Trying to get a SP just for the sake of getting a SP is counterproductive.

    Watch: Kuroda puts on Pinstripes & then morphs into Esteban Loaiza.

    • JobaWockeeZ

      3.65 xFIP which is park and league adjusted. And it has the most correlation with ERA so no he’s not as useless as you think.

      And this is just….what?

      If you’re gonna make a trade, you go big or nothing at all. You get a young #2 that you have control over for a few years or you do nothing.
      Alright this thinking is flawed but whatever. The thing that’s hilarious is this.

      Otherwise, you fill other holes.

      The Yankees have the second or third best offense. Their pitching is a concern. It’s a hole. So getting a starter fills that hole but it’s not going big so you don’t do it? What?

      Loogy, or another bat for the bench/part time DH.
      A LOOGY and a bench player isn’t going big…

      Trying to get a SP just for the sake of getting a SP is counterproductive.
      Because obviously the goal is getting any starting pitcher. Right. I’ll trusts the stats over hypothetical situations of him getting automatically shelled. And by the way he limited the Sox to 2 runs in 7 IP at Fenway last year before their injury crisis but I guess it doesn’t count for some reason.

      • Cuso

        Dorkward, the go big comment was about SP, not about loogy/part-time DHs. You know “holes.” The type that Berkman or Kearns were supposed to fill last year even though we “didn’t have any” last year either.

        Take you adjusted FIP, lay it on the table like Russian Roulette. Put the barrell to your head and you HONESTLY tell me you trust Kuroda.


        • JobaWockeeZ

          Dorkward, the go big comment was about SP, not about loogy/part-time DHs.
          Right, got it sorry. It’s late at night and I didn’t see the word pitcher in your absolute.

          If you’re gonna make a trade, you go big or nothing at all.

          Oh wait…you didn’t.

        • Jim S

          Yeah, resort to insults when someone disagrees with you. Quality way to make an argument.

          And yes, I’d trust Kuroda. Although in what universe I’d be forced to so do Russian Roulette style I have no idea. I’d trust Kuroda over Hughes/Garcia/Burnett, which, if we don’t give up the farm, is all that really matters.

          Also, 1 start at fenway last year, while relatively meaningless, is WAY more meaningful than your feelings.

      • Cuso

        And, you’re 100% fucking right. Last year’s appearance in Fenway doesn’t count for ANY reason.

        Really dude? LAST YEAR against the Sox?

        You’re quoting LAST YEAR?!


        • JobaWockeeZ

          He faced Keivn Youkilis, Dustin Pedroia, Adrian Beltre, and Victor Martinez but no please continue saying things without using this wonderful new tool called google. It’s hilarious.

        • Ted Nelson

          A game he actually pitched in doesn’t count, but you sticking a gun to your head and asking whether you trust him is? Get real.

    • Oscar Gamble’s Fro

      He’ll get shelled in Fenway & he’ll get shelled in Arlington. Keep him away.

      Kuroda in Fenway last year: 7IP, 9K, 2R, 6H, 1BB.

      • mbonzo

        He’ll be the next Javy Vasqeuz/Carl Pavano/Kenny Rogers/Jaret Wright/Kevin Brown/Jeff Weaver/Dale Murray/Steve Trout/Kyle Farnsworth/Kei Igawa!

        • Oscar Gamble’s Fro

          AJ and RJ don’t make the cut?

      • Jim S

        heh. oh stats, always getting in the way of people’s narratives.

        • jsbrendog

          numberz urr stoopit

    • jsbrendog

      oak. tag.

  • http://none Favrest

    I’ve heard from some folks that work for MLB teams that Bedard is a huge baby, and a lousy clubhouse guy. Not a Yankee. Get me Mark Buerhle. A gamer.

    • Phife Dawg

      Buerhle has a full NTC and has publicly made known that he does not want to pitch for the White Sox or the Cardinals.

  • Jesse

    I’d give up Laird and Warren and that’s the absolute highest i’d go for a guy like Kuroda.

  • Cuso

    I guess a more concise point in my case against Kuroda and these lesser tier guys is this:

    If we trade for a SP, it HAS to be for someone that we think can win in Fenway. Period. Otherwise, what is the point?

    Do we want Kuroda to start every 5th day so we can “get” to the playoffs? We’re in pretty good shape to “GET” to the playoffs if we add absolutely nothing.

    Who the hell wants a pitcher that serves only the purpose of going out there every 5th day & then collapsing?

    Christ, I’d rather go after Derek Lowe. At least he has a backbone and a post-season pedigree.

    • JobaWockeeZ

      What points are you making? You’re just making questions. Kuroda pitching up to his talent will be a 3.50-3.80 ERA pitcher even in the AL East. That’s not 5th starter production no matter how many questions you ask trying to disprove it.

      • Cuso

        My point is pretty clear.

        Your reading comprehension is apparently marginal at best.

        SLOWLY: Kuroda isn’t going to improve our chances of getting to the postseason.

        AND Kuroda isn’t going to beat the Sox/Rangers when we get there.

        Thus, don’t trade anything of value to get him.

        Adjust your FIP so you can read English. Otherwise wait until your bouy gets back from TJS and join us in 2013.

        • Mike Axisa

          It would be wonderful if you provided one shred of evidence to support your claim that Kuroda wouldn’t be successful for the Yankees. I suspect you won’t though.

          • mbonzo

            I don’t know if you’ve noticed this before Mike, but you might want to take a look before you even say the word Kuroda again.


            We have to alert Cashman.

            • nsalem

              a dazzling intellectual display. bet you think you’re so funny.

          • David, Jr.

            He won’t because there isn’t any evidence. Kuroda is a very solid #3 type starter.

        • Slugger27

          the only thing you guys are disagreeing on is how good kuroda is.

          i think its pretty clear the point cuso is making, even if yall disagree on kurodas talent level. he thinks of kuroda as a guy u cant count on in the AL east, so he doesnt wanna trade for him. u may disagree and feel kuroda is absolutely a solid reliable guy in the AL east, but that doesnt mean cusos logic isnt sound, if he indeed believes kuroda isnt a reliable playoff pitcher.

          • JAG

            Except that his “logic” is based on…I don’t even know what it’s based on, random assertions based on watching highlights of the guy one time and listening to the media talk about how the NL West is a hitter’s paradise (when really only Petco is). I haven’t heard a single argument that supports the idea that Kuroda will not do well against Texas or Boston other than Cuso flat-out stating it as unambiguous fact.

            • jsbrendog

              this. when he has anything other than his gut then maybe i’ll give his thoughts some thought

  • Avi

    For all of you who think Ubaldo is an ace pls answer this question:
    How many guys in the last 15 years were consistent aces with a 9.5% BB rate?

    JobaWockeez made this point in the last thread and I think it’s an excellent one.

    • thumper

      Better yet, show me 1 article that defines an Ace soley based upon their walk percentage. You have to look at these statistics based upon context. Jimenez is still striking out nearly 2.5 for every walk. There’s only 3 outs in every inning, so unless his BABIP suddenly spikes, those walks are a fair trade off for the SO.

      If its a pitcher that tends to rely upon the groundball to get his outs, then a ~10% walk rate is problematic. However, as we’ve seen with Robertson this year, high strikeout totals can mitigate the damage of an above-average walk rate.

    • Jim S

      This article isn’t about Ubaldo, which is why that discussion took place in the last thread.

  • Brett

    Kuroda has a 42% GB rate compared with 51.5% the year before, and also throwing less sliders.

    I wonder if Martin was catching him, (like he was when playing for Dodgers) he might throw more sliders and lower his FIP (He has an abnormally high strand rate atm)

    I wouldn’t mind him coming here for Phelps and another B/C prospect.

  • Drew

    Is John Danks not available? I know that with Jackson gone the White Sox probably will want to hold on to their pitching but I think Danks would be the perfect fit for the Yankees. He is better than Kuroda but will cost less than Ubaldo. I would Give up Nova and some other parts for him. He had a shit first half of the season and just came off the DL but as of his last 6-7 starts he has been fantastic. I will take the 4 year track record over the first half of this season.

  • MattG

    Wandy Rodriquez is reportedly on the block. I am not arguing he is better than Kuroda, but he is left-handed, a total salary dump, and controlled by a GM with a YouTube like reliever-fetish.

    • FIPster Doofus

      But he’s not a total salary dump in the eyes of the Astros. They want a big return for him.

  • YankeeGrunt

    And he got $800K. McCue probably doesn’t warrant that kind of bonus, and he was drafted 19 rounds later.

  • Monteroisdinero

    Cervelli and Dickerson will be fine for Kuroda and Montero (on the varsity).

    How could we not do that?

    Cervelli sucks and Golson is a better defender than Dickerson. Cervelli and Dickerson would love SoCal. Dickerson is from there and Frankie could get into the modeling field where he would have more success.

  • B-Rando

    RAB has gone insane. This thread proves it.

    (Apologies to those sane people left who are reading this)

    • jsbrendog

      yeah because rational thought is insane to msot yankee fans. you’re right.

      • jsbrendog

        or educated discourse