Along with the Los Angeles Dodgers needing to find a solution at shortstop as Hanley Ramirez doesn’t appear to factor into their plans moving forward, the team also needs to shore up its starting rotation.
All five pitchers spent time as the fifth starter in the Dodgers’ rotation and it’s unlikely any will be re-signed for 2015. While the free agent market includes notable frontline starters, the Dodgers may look to a familiar name to fill the void, reports ESPN LA’s Mark Saxon:
Dodgers GM Zaidi on H. Kuroda: "If he decides to play over here, he’s obviously part of the universe of players we’re going to talk about."
— Mark Saxon (@markasaxon) November 11, 2014
Kuroda is a free agent after having spent the previous three seasons with the New York Yankees working on a trio of one-year deals. He wasn’t extended a qualifying offer and is believed to be considering retirement or a return to the Japan League.
According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today Sports, Yankees GM Brian Cashman believes Kuroda will pitch in 2015:
Brian Cashman says he would be surprised if Kuroda retires and expects him to pitch in MLB or Japan.#Yankees
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) November 10, 2014
The Dodgers signed Kuroda in 2008 and he spent four seasons with the team. During his tenure as a Dodger, the right-hander amassed a career 41-46 record and 3.45 ERA. Kuroda is five games over .500 with the Yankees (38-33) with essentially an identical 3.44 ERA.
To his credit, Kuroda has reached double-digit wins over the last five seasons. He won a career-high 16 games with the Yankees in 2012, which was his first season in the Big Apple. Although the Dodgers may consider Kuroda for a spot in their rotation, his age and salary expectations may prevent a return to Los Angeles.
Kuroda will turn 40-years-old in February and is coming off a year in which he earned $16 million. The Dodgers have been open with their desire to lower their payroll and paying anywhere in the range of $12-16 million for a fourth or fifth starter may be difficult to accept.