Update: Yankees close to re-signing Hiroki Kuroda


Friday: The Yankees are close to re-signing Kuroda, reports Jon Heyman. It’ll be a one-year deal worth about $16M. Brian Cashman acknowledged being on the “one-yard line” with “more than two” players at a charity event this morning. Kuroda, Jacoby Ellsbury, Kelly Johnson? Sounds about right.

Thursday: While speaking to reporters this afternoon, Brian Cashman said Hiroki Kuroda intends to pitch next season. That doesn’t necessarily mean he will do it for the Yankees — he could still opt to return to Japan or sign with another MLB team — but retirement is no longer being considered. That’s a good thing. The Yankees offered Kuroda a one-year deal worth $15-16M a few weeks ago and Cashman said the two sides continue to talk. Obviously they want him back for 2014.

Categories : Asides, Hot Stove League


  1. Dan says:

    They cannot afford Kuroda at $15m and Cano and be under $189m with a roster with any depth at all. They can sign Cano and a $10m starter, and then if they trade Ichiro (doable at $6m) they can round out the rest of the roster. If they sign Kuroda, it means goodbye Robbie, or goodbye any depth.

    Kuroda has been a number 4 starter in the second half the past two years. The money can be better spent elsewhere.

    Obviously, if A-Rod is suspended or $189m is out the window, it’s a different story. But I still think $15m is too much to pay for the 2d half/playoff fade.

    • tmoney says:

      What depth do they need? They have Johnson and Ryan in the infield, Nuno, Banuelos, Ramirez and Pineda for starters, Ichiro and Almote in the OF. They need good starters, relief pitchers (who aren’t hard to come by or expensive)and Maybe a guy like Reynolds. Kuroda was one of the top starters last year and the Yankees need him + at least one other top half of the rotation starter if they are going to compete.

    • Bavarian Yankee says:

      I don’t think 189 is a realistic goal anymore, even if A-Rod is suspended. They still need at least 2 starters, a 2B or 3B and at least 2 relievers. Seems like another OF isn’t out of question either. Unless they trade the farm I have a hard time to believe they’ll really be able to stay below 189 all season.

      btw: any news if they have to get below 189 once or twice? Seems like that question never got an answer.

      • RetroRob says:

        I don’t think Dan got the memo.

      • phil says:

        I think they have $57M to spend if Arod is suspended for the whole year and no Cano if they want to stay under $189:

        Kuroda $16M
        Infante $6M
        Reynolds $4M
        Feldman $10M
        Balfour $8M

        This Leaves 13 Million for another reliever and how about Bartolo Colon…for $8M

        • Need Pitching & Hitting says:

          They have about $40M left to spend if ARod is suspended all year and no Cano.
          Signed players: CC, Tex, Jeter, Ellsbury, McCann, Ichiro, Ryan, Johnson, Soriano, Wells = $113.74M for luxury tax purposes
          Arbitration projections for DRob, Gardner, Nova, Cervelli, and Kelley = $14.8M
          Benefits = about $12M
          40-man roster, pre-arb players, routine transactions = est. 5 M
          Arod – I think would still count for $2.5M. I believe they can only deduct the lost $25M salary, not the full $27.5M AAV.
          $113.74 + $14.8 + $12M + $5M + $2.5M = $148.04M leaving about $41M without leaving room for any mid-season trades or potential bonuses earned. More likely, if they are still attempting $189M, they’d have less than $40M left to spend this offseason. You might be able to sign Kuroda, Infante (I think $6M might be low there), Feldman, and maybe one of Reynolds or Balfour.

        • Dr. Grenaldine says:

          Corey Feldman is available? For only $10 million?!?

      • King of Fruitless Hypotheticals says:


    • LK says:

      In 2012, Kuroda’s 2 playoff starts were 8.1 IP, 2 ER against BAL and 7.2 IP, 3 ER against DET. In 2013, he had no playoff starts because the Yankees weren’t good enough to get there. He’s been worse post-ASB the past two years (though still quite good overall, which is, you know, what actually matters), but the dude has been solid in the playoffs for NYY.

      If the money can be better spend elsewhere, would you mind pointing us to where?

    • wolfgang's Fault says:

      They should let Kuroda walk, hopefully to another MLB team so they get a pick for him. He shot his load these past two years, & he’s done. That arm of his isn’t capable of giving you 150 – 200 quality innings any longer. Turn the page here & move onto something(s) younger w/more upside & less payroll.

  2. 28 this year says:

    At least if he doesn’t choose to pitch for the Yankees, I would like him to pitch for an MLB team. At least that is one more draft pick that while we might lose, stills allows us to hold onto a pick since we wouldn’t lose a lower one. Its not a particularly valuable pick but its better than nothing if we don’t sign him ourselves.

    • fin says:

      I think its pretty safe to say hes coming back to NY. No one is going to want to give up their pick for a 38yr old pitcher on a 1 year deal.

      • Bavarian Yankee says:

        I think there are several teams that would like to have Kuroda. Kuroda doesn’t seem to be willing to pitch for everyone though, not even every contender. I thought the Dodgers were the only real threat and I guess they won’t add another starter. Maybe he’d like to be on the same staff as Darvish but imo it’s Yankees or back to Japan at this point.

        • fin says:

          Yep, I’m sure lots of teams would like to have Kuroda, if not all teams. However, I doubt any would be willing to give up their draft pick for 1 year of him. The Yankees pretty much forced him to choose between them and Japan when they gave him an offer.

        • RetroRob says:

          Agreed, although the hill is steep for another team. They have to at least match, if not exceed the Yankees offer. The team will have to be willing to pay the price on a one-year deal and give up a draft pick. Kuroda will have to want to pitch for that team.

          My guess is this is more about trying to get a few more dollars from the Yankees.

    • LK says:

      You’re right that getting the pick is a marginal benefit, but at this point it would be a small consolation.

      I actually think it’s possible they have a very good strategy here.

      Sacrifice a bunch of picks this year so the draft is essentially punted; however, we heard that they were going to go nuts in international free agency, which, if true, could net them the same amount of amateur talent they’d normally get in the draft and IFA combined.

      Then (theoretically) in 2015 they won’t be able to spend in IFA, but could keep all their picks (plus extra picks from qualifying FAs) and pick up a bunch of talent in the draft.

      This way they can still get significant amateur talent the next 2 years (IFA this year, draft next year), while still spending a dumster truck of cash in FA this year.

      Their thinking might be totally different, but it seems to me they might’ve found the best way to game the system. And, at least in theory, you could cycle back and forth like that forever (IFA and FA in 2016, draft in 2017, …).

      It’s not perfect, in that you’re basically limiting yourself to half the talent pool in both FA and prospects, but if you can acquire a greater percentage of that pool you might still be better off. 20% of half is better than 5% of the whole.

      • wolfgang's Fault says:

        They picked a lousy year to punt on the draft as 2014 is supposed to be both deep & talented, & also top-loaded w/arms & shortstops. Curses!!!

    • wolfgang's Fault says:

      Actually, it is a valuable pick. The 2014 draft is deep & more talented than 2013, so anything within the top 100 gives you a shot at a potentially solid prospect.

  3. TWTR says:

    I would like him back but not at $15m if there is any kind of shrinking the budget plan. They need to continue to get younger as well as better.

    • fin says:

      So where are the Yankees going to dig up this “younger as well as better” pitcher than Kuroda?

      • TWTR says:

        If I knew that I would have the big chair, but imo, spending $15m for a starter who has faded two years in a row as the season has worn on is not a good move unless they are just going to have a payroll similar to last season.

        • fin says:

          Hes worth the money. There just aren’t any appealing options available and the Yankees don’t have the farm system to go make a trade for a top of the rotation guy. They could limit his innings to keep him fresh down the stretch. In the end I have no qualms about the Yankees bringing their best pitcher back on a very reasonable 1yr 15m deal.

          • TWTR says:

            It’s not like the $15m goes away if they don’t sign him. There could be better options via trade in ST or during the season.

            • fin says:

              So you think the Yankees have the trade chips to land a young pitcher that’s better than Kuroda?

              • TWTR says:

                I think they could as the season wears on if you believe, as I do, that some of the prospects that plateaued or regressed last season could see a return to development.

                • RetroRob says:

                  That would be great, although it is an unknown. By signing Kuroda, they get to have Kuroda and keep their prospects, and they don’t have to wait on the hopes that their prospects bounce back so they can trade them mid season when they might be out of the race already because they were short on pitching.



                  I provide those two links for quick reference. There is no evidence he is fading. Just the opposite. He is as constant as the Northern Star.

                  I am a realist and his age is a concern, yet his recent history is a far better indicator of what he can deliver. His WAR says he’s worth more than $16M, especially on a one year deal, and even more so on a one-year deal that greatly reduces the team’s risk. He is the best option for the team.

                  • Robinson Tilapia says:

                    Quoting Joni Mitchell gets you nowhere, old man.

                  • Fin says:

                    Agree 100%. I would also like to throw in that if the Yankees can sign Tanaka, they will have been able to avoid the Ubaldo’s and Garza’s of the world on long term deals. It doesn’t get any better than that. Though, im not entirely sure the Yankees would give either of them a contract, and would probably look to trade a package built around Gardner for a pitcher and sign another OF’er.

                • Robinson Tilapia says:

                  A bird in hand… much better in April.

                  • Fin says:

                    That’s always been true, but even more so now. There isn’t much available in trade these days with so many teams in contention with the wild card. Not to mention its a pretty sill argument. The only pitchers that are upgrades to Kuroda are the Price’s of the world and they are way out of the Yankees range as far as prospects go. The Yankees would have to empty the system, and that might not be enough.

            • Robinson Tilapia says:

              I’d say the current need is too big to take the chance and that Kuroda is nowhere near the risk you’re making him out to be.

              If there are better options later, there’s no reason not to explore them. You can never have eno….

          • wolfgang's Fault says:

            Alfredo Aceves? I think there are still a lot of players/pitchers who’ll be available before sprint training. Kuroda seems like too much dough for an arm that was old & tired this past September.

            • Robinson Tilapia says:

              I’m glad you called it sprint training, since we should be running as fast as we can from Aceves.

              • Wolfgang's Fault says:

                Ha-ha. Good for a pitcher’s legs & cardio though. Aceves can give you quality innings & do it relatively inexpensively. His personality you’re running from or you think he’s done? New year, new team — I’d give him the benefit of the doubt. I know Cashman felt burned by him a few years back, but where would we all be if not for 2nd chances (& sometimes 3rds & 4ths). I’d sign him.

      • mitch says:

        Exactly. The alternatives to a 1 year Kuroda deal are 5 years of Matt Garza or Ubaldo Jimenez, or somebody from the Phelps/Warren/Nuno group. I’ll take my chances that Kuroda can provide 150 solid innings.

        • Robinson Tilapia says:

          I’ll bake #HIROK a cake and throw in an extra few bucks.

          He’s the best pitcher available. He’s been great for us. We may even have the depth, once all is said and done, to spell him a bit in the later months. Other than re-signing Cano, there is no better move this team can make right now.

          • nycsportzfan says:

            Agreed. If we resign Kuroda, we now have 3starters locked in, with a huge wildcard in Pineda, and a couple young guys who have showed some promise in Warren, Phelps, and Nuno. Kuroda is a huge resigning for NYY’s.

      • mustang says:

        They can go to Japan and only pay the posting fee….. wait a minute that’s gone too.

        They can wish upon a star…. wait that’s only at disney world.

        I love when fans come up with stuff, but with plans how to get it.

        • TWTR says:

          “I love when fans come up with stuff, but with plans how to get it.”

          Yet you are precluding options even though you cannot know what might be available at a later date.

          Which I don’t love, btw.

          • mustang says:

            And your acting like the options are out there and the Yankees are choosing Kuroda.

            I’m sure if there were better options then Kuroda the Yankees would jump on them, but for price and length of contract they aren’t. No might how much you and others hope they would be.

          • Fin says:

            Dude, how many pitchers are available through FA or trade in any given year that are as good/better than Kuroda? Zero? One? Right now there is rumors that the Rays are looking to trade Price who is better, but the Rays aren’t trading with the Yankees and even if they were the Yankees certainly don’t have the trade chips to get him.

            Going into ST looking to replace Kuroda’s production on a trade is insane. Not to mention the cost would be much more than the $15m Kuroda is going to get. Maybe not in dollars but in wiping out any talent the Yankees do have in the minors if the player is young. If he is older he will be making as much more than Kuroda and still cost you significant prospect talent. I cant see any legit reason why the Yankees wouldn’t want this deal, nor could I think of any reason for virtually and contending team not to want this deal. This deal is as good as it gets for a pitcher of Kuroda’s caliber.

  4. hi there says:

    If he’s decided he’s definitely going to pitch, what’s the hold up here? Just agree to the dam deal. How long can it take to ponder a return trip to Japan.

    • RetroRob says:

      The time it takes is equivalent to the amount of time it takes to hear the dollar amount he believes he can get.

      Seriously, I know to all of us $15 or $16M may not sound like a bridge that can’t be crossed quicky, yet if you’re Kuroda and you know your time is quite limited to make money, and extra million bucks is worth holding out for. If you’re the Yankees, you’re trying to hold on to that extra million to directly elsewhere.

      He’ll sign.

      • Fin says:

        I would imagine the Yankees hold a pretty hard line with him, as it would seem they have all the leverage. I imagine its just the fact that he recently made his mind up and now they are working on the details of the contract.

  5. HulkHeyman says:

    Hopefully Ninja-cash makes an appearance soon. We need some trade magic to happen if we’re going to field a rotation that looks remotely adequate.

    • Robinson Tilapia says:

      It’s possible the trade market gives you something a bit reasonable than Garza/Jimenez/etc., but that’s dependent on a whole lot.

      To me, it’s possible if:

      1) That pitcher does exist (that’s kind of a big one)
      2) Brett Gardner is suddenly moveable AND a year of him is even desirable (not really a fan of that in most cases)
      3) JR Murphy is suddenly more of a commodity in a field where all the FA catchers are off the board (not far-fetched at all)
      4) Someone likes the rest of what we’ve got more than the rest of humanity seems to

      There may have been only one Doug Fister situation out there.

      • Fin says:

        Definitely, easier to be Ninja Cash when you have Montero to trade. Jr Murphy probably doesn’t land you anything overly exciting at this point. I just don’t see much in the system that helps Cashman land something substancial. Using Gardner in a trade would just force them to hand out another long term contract to OF’er, unless we want to Ichiro and his non existent bat playing a corner OF spot.

  6. phil says:

    I think they have $57M to spend if Arod is suspended for the whole year and no Cano if they want to stay under $189:

    Kuroda $16M
    Infante $6M
    Reynolds $4M
    Feldman $10M
    Balfour $8M

    This Leaves 13 Million for another reliever and how about Bartolo Colon…for $8M

  7. King of Fruitless Hypotheticals says:

    Kuroda has already been signed and they’re waiting to announce it the same day they announce Cano’s signing which will be the day Tanaka is in town for his official visit.


  8. RetroRob says:

    I have to note that there are two separate, unrelated Star Trek clips in this thread. I am guilty of one of them. Someone post a Star Wars clip to complete our nerd-fest. Off to my parent’s basement, although that would be impossible for me as I am the parent. Off to my basement!

  9. mustang says:

    Memo to all Yankees fans:

    Due to the fact that we lost 53 million dollars (That’s more then the luxury tax hit) last year because we fielded a team that looked like and did suck we are flushing the 189 plans unless of course Bud’s “Kill A-Rod plan” works.
    So our goal is to have a team on opening day that actually might look like they can, you know, win since

    “What this clearly shows is that the Yankees’ whole financial equation is built around winning. If you take that away, they become mere mortals from a financial standpoint,”

    Development, trades, and youth are all great, but if we don’t put what looks like a winning product we lose lots of money which NOT GOOD.

    Much love

    New York Yankees.

    • Fin says:

      This is the truth. I think Cashman’s future with the Yankees may depend on the minor league system this year as much as the MLB team. Hal can not be happy that they have no one close to helping them in the system. He has to be thinking that hes looking at a $300m payroll in a few years if things keep up like this. Of the 9 everyday players, 8 of them will be playing on FA contracts. Of the 5 SP, it seems 4 will be playing on FA contracts. The entire bench right now, besides Nunez is FA contracts. Crazzy expensive way to run a team.

  10. Nathan says:

    They need Kuroda.

    Really for the five spots, we’ve got two pitchers in Sabathia and Nova. Sabathia is the de facto ace but had a terrible year. Nova was good but can he keep up the success? The #5 spot I’m guessing will be a toss up between Nuno and Pineda.

    That leaves two spots needed. I’d much rather have Kuroda who is right there with Sabathia than someone who might not be able to hack it in NY. As good as Nova was, I don’t want him to be the Yankees #2 pitcher.

  11. mick taylor says:

    signing kuroda is a mistake garza was a better choice

  12. TWTR says:

    I just hope they keep his IP down early in the season. He needs to be handled differently.

    • mitch says:

      I’m confident they’ll be able to give him more rest this year. The offense should be much better, so there should be more opportunities to pull him out of the game a little earlier.

      • I'm a looser baby so why don't you kill me? says:

        This. Run support will hopefully go a long way to keeping his IP somewhat under control over the first few months.

  13. Dan says:

    I’m glad to have Kuroda back, but I really hope it’s less than $16m. I don’t think they can get him and Cano and be under $189m. Yes, $189m may be out the window (or contingent on A-Rod). But I’ll believe it when I see it.

  14. Vern Sneaker says:

    This is a big YES!

  15. Dan says:

    I think this puts them at the same level as last year, even without Cano. So at least we’ll get to watch a team compete for the whole year.

    If Cano comes back, they’re back at 90+ wins.

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