Update: Yankees have offered $15-16M to Kuroda


4:30pm: The offer was made “a long time ago,” according to Mark Feinsand. The Yankees never expected Kuroda to make a decision right away. Sounds like they made a standing offer soon after he declined the qualifying offer to just make it clear they want him back.

1:00pm: Via Andrew Marchand: The Yankees have offered Hiroki Kuroda a contract in the $15-16M range in hopes of keeping him from retirement or going back to Japan. Kuroda turned down the $14.1M qualifying offer last month. The team is said to be “more upbeat” about their chances of keeping him now than they were a few weeks ago.

Kuroda, 38, had a 3.31 ERA (3.56 FIP) in 201.1 innings this past season, but he faded badly down the stretch for the second straight year. The Yankees paid him $15M in 2013 and although I love Kuroda as much as anyone, his age and the back-to-back second half fades are definite red flags to me. The team needs starters in the worst way and there might not be a better deal out there than Kuroda on a one-year contract, but I’m much more nervous about him returning for another season right now than I was last winter.

Categories : Asides, Hot Stove League


  1. I think at this point, outside of Tanaka, every FA pitcher has their considerable warts. Better to go with the guy that you know than the guy you don’t know.

    • jjyank says:

      Tanaka may not have warts, but he is just as big of a question mark.

      That said, I want them both. I agree with you that Kuroda and his red flags are probably a better deal than some of the other options and their flags.

    • jjyank says:

      Tanaka may not have warts, but he is just as big of a question mark.

      That said, I want them both. I agree with you that Kuroda and his red flags are probably a better deal than some of the other options and their flags.

    • I'm One says:

      Fully agree. It’s a one year deal. He’s probably the best available option. (Tanaka isn’t available yet and we don’t know if the Yankees will win the rights to negotiate with him if/when he is available.)

    • Robinson Tilapia says:

      I’d say Tanaka has a massive, massive wart called no one’s seen him pitch in the US yet.

    • JGYank says:

      Agree completely. Especially when the guy you know had a 3.31 ERA and was the closest thing we had to an ace last year.

  2. Andrew says:

    Scary in that he’s old and has faded two years in a row, yes. But he also pitched phenomenally well for big chunks of those same 2 seasons, and is the most ‘risk-averse’ starter towards the top of the market’s performance spectrum that’s available for only cash. Choosing between a 1-year deal with an even older Hiroki, vs. a long-term deal with Garza/Ubaldo, or even a shorter deal for someone even riskier like Haren? I think Hiroki is as great a fit as there could be.

    • Likely says:

      Except, of course, that he hasn’t faded two years in a row. In 2012, his September stats look awful in aggregate. Look below that and you see that two bad starts in September (9/5 and 9/23) were driving it.

      I am not sure why Mike keeps flogging this myth.

      • Havok9120 says:

        And then he pitched great in the postseason.

        • Preston says:

          Stop, you’re ruining the narrative!

          • whozat says:

            He stopped throwing bullpens between starts late in 2012, though, because he was feeling fatigued by the long season. Sure, outside of two disaster starts he was still good, but the evidence of him running out of gas appeared in 2012. And then the same fatigue impacted his results more in 2013.

            So, it’s not a myth. We know that Kuroda has had to take steps late in both of the last two seasons to combat fatigue.

            • Havok9120 says:

              And that’s great, but we’re treating it like a rule that he’ll collapse on the field after a certain number of innings. The evidence doesn’t bear that out.

  3. hornblower says:

    One yr. contracts never hurt. The long ones kill you on the back end.

  4. Tags says:

    I also worry about how he faded, especially last year. But the Yankees rode him hard pitching complete games, and many games with pitch counts well over 100. I’d limit his innings early on to try and keep him fresh towards the end of the season.

  5. jim p says:

    If we end up with Kuroda, Pineda with so few innings pitched for 2 years, and a Tanaka used to Japan’s once-a-week start system, we’ll really have to be creative about giving them time off during the season.

    Either we’ll need an awesome bullpen from 7-9, or we’ll have to think of a version of five-and-a-half-man rotation. However it’s done, we’ll have to find a way to make sure these guys still have some gas in September.

    Scoring lots of runs and having solid infield defense would help a lot.

  6. hogsmog says:

    Sure, he’s an old guy with question marks, but could easily pitch like an ace for half the season. I’d take that over one that will pitch like an old guy with question marks for the whole thing, which is pretty much what else is on the market.

  7. Eric says:

    If they’re serious about $189, I don’t see how Cano, Beltran, Tanaka and Kuroda all fit into the budget. Of those 4, I think Kuroda is the least important.

    That being said, I prefer the Yankees ignore the $189 plan altogether.

  8. Pseudoyanks says:

    Any chance the Yanks will take a completely different approach with Kuroda to prevent another late season burn out? Light Spring Training followed by EST to get ready for a June 1 season start OR Mid-season Month off around the ASB? Or something else?

    • 28 this year says:

      But if he gets injured in June, you get nothing for the season. At least if he gets hurt early, you have time to recoup your investment. Take the innings you get because nothing is guaranteed.

      • Pseudoyanks says:

        True. Maybe they need to manage his innings (and even starts) during the season a bit differently.

      • jjyank says:

        This. The Yankees can’t take that chance.

        I saw this being discussed a couple weeks ago in a thread, but was too late in reading it to comment. Let Kuroda start the season like normal. If he fades in the second half, at least you probably got a great first half, and those games count all the same at the end of the day. But if he don’t get a first half, and someone hits a comebacker at his leg on June 15 and he’s done for 3 months, you’re really screwed.

    • nyyankfan7 says:

      For $16 million they better be planning on him starting the 1st game of April.

  9. uyf1950 says:

    In the interest of accuracy the Yankees actually paid Kuroda $15MM guaranteed salary and $250K in incentive earned based on innings pitched = $15.25MM in 2013.

  10. Dalek Jeter says:

    This thread isn’t nearly as fun as the Stewart Thread.

    • Q says:

      Passing over Vidal Nuno is a CRIME. You’ll never manage to get out of this rut of horrible teams if we keep signing these old washed up pitchers and never let our kids break out into the rotation. And how can you possibly expect Kuroda to be anywhere near as good as last year without Stewart to handle him and back him up with elite defense?

      • jjyank says:

        No, no, no. Your mistake is going with “CRIME”. You should have channeled your inner Matt from last year and said “CRIMINAL! CRIMINAL!”

    • I'm One says:

      Should we all complan about how over-rated he is and due to the heavy workload how likely he is to fail in 2014? :-)

    • jjyank says:

      Don’t worry, some idiot will show up at some point, I’m sure.

  11. TWTR says:

    Giving his late season fades in two consecutive seasons, I think re-signing him at this price makes no sense.

    • Havok9120 says:

      The contracts getting handed out may mean that this is the price of such a solid shot at 150-170 good/great innings on a one year deal. There simply isn’t a better free agent pitcher on the market, certainly not at the expected contract.

      • TWTR says:

        If you told me they would remove him from the rotation if he begins yet another decline a might I agree. But if Girardi’s (or the organization’s) pattern of usage will remain the same, then, in light of their probable self-imposed budget, I would rather spend the money elsewhere and rely on Phelps/Warren/etc.

        Similar to the decision regarding Cano, at some point my preference is for them step away rather than give in to the presumed market price.

        • Havok9120 says:

          Where would you rather they spend the money, though? Who are you getting for one year to makeup the performance lost by not paying Kuroda?

          • TWTR says:

            As I said I would rather give the young pitchers a chance (assuming no reasonable trades for starters are possible now), even if their ceiling right now appears to be about league average, and then look to supplement what, as of now, appears to be a very weak OF offensively, maybe by signing both Choo and Beltran.

            Other trades for starting pitchers may arise during the season.

            • mustang says:

              Easier said then done. When guys like Hughes and Kazmir are getting contracts like they got that tells you the state of starting pitching in MLB. No one is going to trade a young starting pitcher with talent and even if they did I doubt that the Yankees would have the chips to get him.

              • TWTR says:

                Then I would stick with what they have and hope that they can finally have at least some minimal success with development combined with a little luck.

                • jjyank says:

                  It sounds like you’re punting on the season. Not signing someone like Kuroda because the back end of the season may feature him tiring and going with…Phelps/Warren? You’d need a lot of luck there. Those guys are decent back end options, but Kuroda was an ace for a large portion of the season. Phelps and Warren won’t give you that, no matter what that idiot Eddard says.

                  • TWTR says:

                    No, I am making choices and setting priorities within the $189m framework.

                    If I was punting, I wouldn’t be recommending signing Beltran and Choo.

                    You may also need luck in hoping that Kuroda’s fade doesn’t happen even earlier at his age.

                    • Preston says:

                      Well I for one am glad you are not the one making the choices.

                    • jjyank says:

                      Well who is going to be in that rotation then? CC/Nova/Pineda/Phelps/Warren? Even if you sign Tanaka and replace one of them, that’s a terrible rotation. Even a fading-down-the-stretch is way, way, way better than Phelps or Warren. Massive downgrade.

                    • TWTR says:

                      “Well I for one am glad you are not the one making the choices.”

                      That makes me feel better.

                      “Well who is going to be in that rotation then? CC/Nova/Pineda/Phelps/Warren? Even if you sign Tanaka and replace one of them, that’s a terrible rotation. Even a fading-down-the-stretch is way, way, way better than Phelps or Warren. Massive downgrade.”

                      It may well be the same with Kuroda, or possibly worse after August.

                      That is why development is so important

                    • jjyank says:

                      Sure, but even if you let Phelps and Warren “develop”, they’d still probably be worse than an aging Kuroda.

                    • Robinson Tilapia says:

                      “That is why development is so important.”

                      That is why I’m glad you’re not in charge of goalpost placement on weekends.

                    • Havok9120 says:

                      “You may also need luck in hoping that Kuroda’s fade doesn’t happen even earlier at his age.”

                      Or it might really happen at all, as in 2012.

          • Preston says:

            Nowhere, the current FA market is paying out about 6 million per win. At 16 million you’re valuing Kuroda as a 2.5 win pitcher, a fairly conservative estimate seeing as he was a 4 win pitcher last year, and a 5.5 win pitcher the year before by bWAR. And that isn’t even accounting for the fact that you usually have to pay a premium in dollars to get a shorter contract. Kuroda at 16 million or even 18 million is an absolute steal. I mean Dan Haren coming off of two back to back replacement level seasons gets 10 million, 2/35 for Tim Lincecum after two seasons below replacement level, Tim Hudson got 2/23 coming off of a pretty horrific ankle injury, Ricky Nolasco had two consecutive 1.8 WAR seasons and got 4/49 and then there is Phil Hughes getting 3/24 and Jason Vargas getting 4/32. The pitching market is crazy right now.

    • mustang says:

      “The A’s and Scott Kazmir have reached an agreement on a two-year, $22MM contract,”

      THIS makes no sense!!!!

  12. Frank says:

    On the positive side, Yanks know Kuroda and his ability to handle the pressure cooker that is NYC. On the negative side, he’s 38-39 and has faded the second half of the past 2 seasons. Tough call. Unfortunately, Yanks didn’t make a move on Kazmir on a short term deal for probably what they’ll wind up paying Kuroda for 1 season. I think that would have been a good gamble. Instead, A’s are signing Kazmir. That may turn out to be a great signing for them.

  13. Darren says:

    The problem isn’t Kuroda fading, the problem is the Yankees had zero depth and were fighting for their lives for months. If they had one decent alternative, they could have given him a breather at some point.

    • TWTR says:

      Isn’t needing a breather an acknowledged of a diminished performance, iow, a fade?

      • Darren says:

        Oh, for sure. Kuroda is obviously diminished. What I mean is that it was easy to predict based on his age; the Yankees just didn’t have the tools to compensate. Although for all of his good bullpen management, Girardi did seem to pull a Proctor on Kuroda and (in past years), CC. For me if you have a 5 run lead in the 7th, just get your starter out of there! There’s no reason for your #1 or #2 guy to pitch 8 or 9 innings in a game that’s not tight.

  14. mustang says:

    I think a lot of people are missing the point if next year they are relying on Kuroda to be a 1 or 2 then they are done. To me Kuroda is more of Andy’s replacement, which is, a 3 type. The real scary part for the Yankees is that they need Nova (inconsistent), Pineda (injury prone) and Tanaka (unproven and unsigned) to be the 2 types not only now, but in years to come. The upside would be that they would finally have that young affordable core of starting pitchers we have always wanted. I don’t even want to think about the downside.

    • MannyGeee says:

      We’ve had that ‘young affordable core of pitching we’ve always wanted’ before, and they sucked alot of proverbial cock.

      Like it or not, you need a mix of youth and experience to win at baseball. Unfortunately, they both come with big question marks.

  15. mustang says:

    “The A’s and Scott Kazmir have reached an agreement on a two-year, $22MM contract,”

    Am I missing something?

    So what this market is tell me is that difference in value between Kazmir and Kuroda is 5 to 6 million dollars??

    No even with the fade at the end just no.

    • mustang says:

      So what this market is tell me is that difference in value between Kazmir and Kuroda is 5 to 6 million dollars IN A YEAR??

    • Dalek Jeter says:

      I don’t know if you’re trying to say that Kuroda is more than 5-6 million dollars more valuable than Kazmir or less, because Kamir (who is some how only 30…what the heck, I feel like he’s already had like 3 full careers) just turned 30, is lefthanded, and is coming of a season with a >40% GB rate, >9K/9, and < 3BB/9. I'd probably have given him about that too.

      • mustang says:

        I think to say that difference between Kuroda and Karmir is only 5 to 6 million is just crazy. Kuroda is at least double Karmir for a year, but see Karmir at 8 a year and Kuroda at 16.

        • TWTR says:

          Kazmir had a much better 2nd half than Kuroda:

          .261 .305 .366 .671

          K/BB: 3.47
          .279 .322 .437 .758

          So you can make the case for more upside with Kazmir.

          • mustang says:

            Oh! Please Kazmir has die and risen more times then Jesus Christ!
            The words Kazmir and upside are more like punch line in-joke then a true statement.

            Nice how you left out Kuroda close to CY Young award winning first half where he carried the team on his back. When did Kazmir do that last year?

            And we are talking A YEAR 2014 to exact

            • TWTR says:

              You keep talking about past performance as if its predictive value is a constant function as pitchers age, when obviously it isn’t, especially as they near 40, and have demonstrated two consecutive seasons of falling off of a cliff as the season wears on.

              I’m not saying I would spend the money on Kazmir, only that I wouldn’t spend it on Kuroda.

              • mustang says:

                I understand what your saying, but when the market is giving Hughes 3 for 24, Kazmir 2 for 22 and Tim Hudson (who is 38 coming off a broken ankle) 2 for 23 Kuroda 1 for 16 doesn’t seem that bad.

                I will agree with you that the market is setting rates that I wouldn’t pay, but that’s neither here nor there the market is what the market is.

            • JGYank says:

              I haven’t seen kazmirs stats but he’s a lefty with good stuff that’s not old and coming off of a good second half. Hughes just got $8M a year and more total $ coming off of a bad year. So giving kazmir only $3M more while putting him in a pitchers park doesn’t seem like a bad deal to me. The market is crazy right now and I think we re all still getting used to it.

              For Hughes I thought it was an overpay originally but if he rebounds to his 2010 or 2012 form (which is likely pitching in target field) he will actually be worth it.

      • Preston says:

        Well you should also factor in that he basically didn’t pitch at all in 2011-12, and the 158 innings he threw this year was the most he’s thrown since 2007.

        • mustang says:

          Thank you.

          $22MM guarantee!!!!!!!! NO INCENTIVES !!!!!

          “Kazmir’s $22MM guarantee falls just $1MM shy of Tim Hudson’s two-year, $23MM deal with the A’s Bay Area rivals — the San Francisco Giants.”


    • Robinson Tilapia says:

      That’s…..quite the overpay.

      Scotty Feldman just bought himself a fifth Camaro. I have no clue what that even means.

    • dkidd says:

      how the hell is kazmir not 30 yet?

  16. brianC. says:

    I’ll take Kuroda. Several reasons. Kuroda is older and has shortcomings, but he is “mentally” strong and those are the players we need. And if you want other reasons ….. barring any type of matchup situations …. I would rather bet on him than Kazmir pitching a pivotal game.

  17. brianC. says:

    I don’t post here often. There is one question I have entertained in the last few days

    If your LIFE was on the line …. then what starting pitcher of all-time do you send to the mound ?

    • Robinson Tilapia says:

      Bob Gibson and a time machine.

      • BrianC. says:

        Not old enough for that. I guess the infamous “stare” of Dave Stewart is a poor poor example for me to relate to.

        For me I have to have someone who can win without their “stuff” who even when they realize they don’t have it that night can improvise adapt and overcome. I will take David Cone.

    • dkidd says:

      from those i’ve actually seen pitch, and assuming you could cherry-pick them at their peak:

      pedro (remember he’d be pitching FOR the yankees)

  18. Robinson Tilapia says:

    I see no problem with giving Kuroda this deal. I’m actually going to there and say this. Ready?

    I’d even give him a couple of million more. OMGZ.

  19. CashmanNinja says:

    I’ve mentioned several times how he did fade down the stretch both seasons, but you know what? A 1 year deal is FINE. It’s only 1 year and won’t impact the following year, then why not give a few million? It beats spending a draft pick to get another pitcher — one who will have a similar AAV, but for SEVERAL years. I’m ok with this.

    Plus now it looks like MLB is screwing the Yankees over with the new posting system. Talks about a “max bid” and “tie goes to the worst record”. That means absolutely no way to set up a massive bid. Great:|

    • RetroRob says:

      I wonder if that could even by allowed without opening up the CBA?

      I do agree too much has been made of the “collapse” in 2012. Sure, if someone wants to go to a pitcher’s lowest ERA and then move forward, of course his ERA will go up. In the case of Kuroda, he is what he is, and his season(s) have to be looked at in totality, not just a stretch of several starts, even if it’s convenient to do so. His ERA in 2012 was 3.32. At the end of July it was 3.28. For the next two months it was 3.39. He also pitched great in the postseason. Focusing on a particular stretch of games doesn’t tell us much compared to the full season numbers.

      2013 there was a clear decline at the end, as he never quite seemed to find his footing over the last six weeks. Yet he also had a spectacular run over seven starts from mid-April to mid-May, posting a 1.38 ERA. Over his next eight starts he had an ERA of 4.13. Then he followed that up with seven starts with an ERA of 0.94. It was his best stretch of the season, with him being talked about as a Cy Young candidate. Yet we know that while Kuroda is good, he wasn’t that good, and regression was coming as his numbers were going to normalize. And then, as we know, his final eight starts saw his ERA rise by nearly a full run, as he followed up his best string of starts with his worst.

      I purposely broke it down by six to eight start segments to try to illustrate how pointless it is to focus on small segments. He is a command-and-control pitcher and when his command is off he will get hit, and when it is on, he is great. At the end of 2013, his numbers were identical to 2012, and that is the real story. That is who Kuroda is, not a specific seven-game stretch. He’s a 120 ERA+ pitcher, and that’s darn good.

      Yes, there should be concern about his age, but one a one year deal considering his great consistency season-to-season, he’s someone the Yankees should want back. They should reduce his innings and pitch count some, but nothing dramatic.

  20. Newman says:

    Start Kuroda’s season after the All-Star break. He’ll be golden.

  21. Dan says:

    Considering Hughes got an $8 million AAV, and Kazmir got $11m, this seems perfectly reasonable. They just have to limit his innings through out the year, so he comes in at 150-175. That should help him stay good longer. They aren’t going to get someone under the radar for a much better AAV standpoint. Someone like Feldman is probably going to get around $12m.

  22. D says:

    Give Kuroda $16M (a $1M raise.)

  23. D-Lerious says:

    Signing Kuroda would be D-lightful!

Leave a Reply

You may use <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong> in your comment.

If this is your first time commenting on River Ave. Blues, please review the RAB Commenter Guidelines. Login for commenting features. Register for RAB.