I’m More Disappointed In Hiroki Kuroda Than I Thought I’d Be

As you’ve no doubt heard, Hiroki Kuroda has informed the Dodgers he will not be waiving his no-trade clause, and thus will be staying with the club for the rest of the season. I have to say, I’m pretty disappointed in that. Don’t get me wrong; I’m a big fan of Kuroda’s. Choosing to exercise his option to stay is well within his rights, and I certainly understand and respect the view of those like Jon Weisman (and, I must say, a surprising amount of Dodger fans, at least among those who post on message boards) who see Kuroda’s decision to stay amongst the turmoil as a refreshing change of pace. I get all of that, and from a human interest point of view, it’s commendable.

Unfortunately, I look at it from more of a “wanting my team to win” point of view, and from that standpoint, it’s hard not to think that Kuroda has hurt the chances to do that, even if only in a small way. A few weeks ago, I noted that I would be more than okay with keeping Kuroda to soak up some innings over the last few months if the deal was just going to be a salary dump, with little in the way of talent coming back. Yet as dominoes have begun to fall over the last few days, we’ve seen that this particular trade season is shaping up as a clear seller’s market. Look at what Toronto was able to do in exchange for some relievers and eating a bad contract. Look how much the Orioles got for 36-year-old Koji Uehara, or the Mets for two months of Carlos Beltran, or the reported return for Ubaldo Jimenez if that goes through. With Detroit, St. Louis, and Cleveland (maybe) all having picked up starters, that left the Red Sox, Yankees, and Rangers to fight over Kuroda, the clear top remaining starter. That’s an enviable position to be in.

I know rumors are just that, but when the Dodgers reportedly asked the Yankees for starter Ivan Nova and one of their three quality catching prospects, several baseball writers I respect greatly tweeted that they didn’t think that was enough of a return, even if the Yankees balked at it. The Dodgers were reportedly even scouting Tiger 3B prospect Nick Castellanos, who they almost certainly weren’t going to get, but at least they were shooting high. As the market took shape, my initial misgivings that the prospects may not be worth the effort turned into a feeling that the Dodgers could really get someone who would make a difference for the future. Not a superstar, of course, but at least a solid starter and perhaps a lottery ticket at one of the positions where the Dodgers have little depth.

Instead, we have 8-10 more starts of Kuroda to look forward to, and that might be it if he decides to go back to Japan after the season. I know some will be happy with that, saying that it proves he’s “true blue” or makes the club better for the last two months, but I don’t really see what that accomplishes. At the end of the season, his current 6-13 record will be something like 8-17, and the team will still be several games under .500 and double-digit games out of a playoff spot. Having Kuroda around, or not, was not going to change the fortunes of the 2011 club. Trading him might have helped future versions of the club, teams he’ll have been long retired from, and while I’m glad he enjoys being a Dodger enough to invoke his no-trade clause, he could have also gone on a two-month road trip somewhere and re-signed in Los Angeles the day after the season ended, if he chose. His gain, short-term, is probably our loss, long-term, and it’ll be a bit hard for me to watch his next start without that thought in the back of my mind.

Hiroki Kuroda Will Agree to a Trade, Unless He Won’t

I usually don’t make posts for quick, small items – the dawn of Twitter killed that, because I used to – but these back-to-back tweets by SI‘s Jon Heyman and the Boston Globe‘s Gordon Edes are too good to pass up.

Heyman, 1:49pm PT:

friend of kuroda says hed be surprised i hiroki consented to a trade out of LA. #tradedeadline

Edes, 1:50pm PT:

Kuroda has indicated to Dodgers that he is open to deals w/Texas, Bos, and NYY. Texas has been pushing hard#trades

The lesson, as always? Don’t believe everything you hear, especially when it’s 23 hours before the trading deadline, and especially especially if it was delivered in 140 characters or less.


Report: Dodgers Agree to Trade Rafael Furcal to Cardinals

First reported by Craig Calcaterra at NBC Sports, and since picked up by several other outlets:

A source tells our own Craig Calcaterra that the Cardinals and Dodgers have agreed to the particulars in a Furcal deal and that Furcal is leaning toward waiving his no-trade protection to go to St. Louis.

This does not mean a deal is done, because as a player with 10/5 rights, Furcal could refuse the trade (or, possibly, Calcaterra’s source could be wrong, though it’s not like this is a story that’s coming out of the blue). But there’s just about no chance he does that; why, in his walk year (since there’s no way that option gets picked up), would he want to play the next few weeks on a losing team before likely getting shoved aside for Dee Gordon in September? He’ll go. Bet on it, and it’s the right move for both sides.

I’ll update this post when we hear who is coming back from St. Louis, but let’s set expectations here. Furcal’s value is far, far less than Hiroki Kuroda‘s, so don’t start dreaming about any Shelby Miller, Carlos Martinez, or Zack Cox types. Much depends on who picks up the majority of the remaining $4m or so on Furcal’s contract, of course.

More to come.