Checking in quickly from the road to note that several sources are claiming that Hiroki Kuroda will soon sign a one year deal worth about $12m to return to the Dodgers. If this is true, it’s an outstanding deal. I’ve long thought that Kuroda would have been able to outdo the 3/33 deal that Ted Lilly just received, but worried about committing that much to an older pitcher with an injury history.
However, we were also unsure if Kuroda wanted to stay in America or return to Japan, so that appears to have worked in the Dodgers’ favor – if he was only willing to commit to one year at a time, he probably wouldn’t have wanted to start over somewhere new, and it’s likely that this is a deal that no other team could have made.
So this is great news (assuming it actually happens), and the LA top 4 can now match just about any other team’s. However, it does raise some questions, now that they’ll be sepnding about $20m on what are essentially their #3 and #4 starters. What happens now to Vicente Padilla, who many of us wanted back as a cheap back-end option but who now may not fit in the budget? If not Padilla, who fits in as #5, since there’s no good in-house option? And now that so much money has unexpectedly been spent on the rotation, what’s left over to fill the holes at C, 2B, and LF, and upgrade the disappointing corner infield spots? As we saw last year, this rotation can be very good, but they can’t win without a little offense.
Those are questions for the rest of the winter, though. For now – again, pending official new – the return of the underrated Kuroda is more than welcome.