The Dodgers might have to look very far in their search to add depth to their starting rotation, as old friend Hiroki Kuroda has become a free agent once more after a magnificent season for the New York Yankees.
He spent his first four seasons in Los Angeles with the Dodgers, posting a 41-46 record despite a 3.45 ERA.
The Yankees jumped at the opportunity to sign Kuroda in 2011, but might not be so fortunate to bring him back for another year.
Kuroda loved his time in Los Angeles and was reluctant to go, but the Dodgers simply could not afford him a year ago, allowing him to sign a 1-year/$12 million contract with the Yankees, instead targeting the duo of Chris Capuano and Aaron Harang for a combined $11 million.
Now with the Dodgers out of bankruptcy court and under the direction of Guggenheim Baseball Management, the team is ready to pursue any player it wants, which could mean a signing of a higher profile pitcher such as Zack Greinke, Jake Peavy, or Ryan Dempster, who all are expected to receive multi-year contracts.
It’s likely that the Dodgers would pursue Kuroda for a 1-year deal this time around, given the optimism surrounding the pitching staff says Ken Gurnick of MLB.com.
“Former Dodgers right-hander Hiroki Kuroda could emerge as a top free-agent target of the club, even though management is increasingly optimistic that starting pitcher Chad Billingsley will avoid Tommy John elbow reconstruction and be ready to pitch in 2013,” Gurnick writes.
Should Kuroda be added to the Dodgers’ rotation, he would join a formidable staff, currently including: Clayton Kershaw, Josh Beckett, Harang and Capuano.
Presumably Billingsley could be added to the mix, which would allow the Dodgers to relegate either Harang or Capuano to the bullpen, giving the team tremendous pitching depth.
Keep an eye out for this one.
Kuroda loves Los Angeles and undoubtedly would welcome a comeback.
Would Dodgers Nation be so inviting?