Hiroki Kuroda Returns to Japan
Hiroki Kuroda signed a deal today with the Hiroshima Toyo Carp of the Japan’s NPB for a reported 400 million yen ($3.32 million). Given that Kuroda could easily have gotten a one-year deal from an MLB team for a full $10 million more, Kuroda’s decision can only be explained as a desire to finish his career in Japan where it all began for.
Kuroda’ 2014 campaign was his least effective since 2010, but it was still right within the range of his remarkably consistent seven year major league career.
The Carp and their fans must be overjoyed, but the deal represents a tremendous bargain for them even by the standards of NPB. The Carp finished third in the Central League in 2014, making the play-offs for the second year in row and improving their record for the fourth year in a row. With Kenta Maeda also coming back, the Carp look like a great bet to challenge the Yomiuri Giants and the Hanshin Tigers for league dominance.
The fact that Kuroda will not be returning to the Yankees certainly makes me think the Bombers will get in on the Max Scherzer bidding to fill that rotation slot. Signing Scherzer certainly won’t solve all the Yankees’ current woes, but it’s hard to imagine the Yankees not making a splash this off-season, particularly when their team salary was down below $200 million in 2014 for the first time in seven years.
The Yankees will be paying Alex Rodriguez $21 million this year for what is anticipated to be very little production, $20+ million they didn’t to pay last year because of ARod’s suspension. Still, signing Scherzer might be the one thing that keeps them above .500 in 2015.