Friday, January 13, 2012
Updated: January 14, 2:44 PM ET
Sources: Yankees sign Hiroki Kuroda
By Andrew Marchand
The New York Yankees have added former Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Hiroki Kuroda to their suddenly deep rotation, sources confirmed. The deal is for one year and $10 million, sources told ESPN The Magazine's Buster Olney.
Combined with the blockbuster trade with the Seattle Mariners for 22-year-old Michael Pineda, the Yankees have reconstructed their rotation. Ace CC Sabathia will likely be followed by Pineda, Ivan Nova, Kuroda and then either Phil Hughes, A.J. Burnett or Freddy Garcia.
A person familiar with Kuroda's signing told The Associated Press the deal is contingent on the 36-year-old passing a physical. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because there has not yet been an announcement. Kuroda's deal also includes performance bonuses, according to the person.
Kuroda went 13-16 in 2011, but that was more a reflection of the Dodgers' awful run support than his performance. He posted a career-best 3.07 ERA and 161 strikeouts in 202 innings. He made $12.5 million last season and has a 3.45 ERA with a win-loss record of 41-46 in four years.
The Yankees have had interest in Kuroda for a while now. In July, the Yankees tried to trade for Kuroda, but he showed an unwillingness to leave Los Angeles. Now, with the Dodgers not an option, it became more apparent that Kuroda would have to leave Southern California and the Yankees emerged as the most likely landing spot.
Earlier on Friday, ESPN.com's Jayson Stark reported that Kuroda wanted to play for either the Yankees or the Red Sox.
The additions of Pineda and Kuroda have given the Yankees a strikingly deep rotation with six legitimate starters and Burnett. Burnett, who has two years and $33 million remaining on his contract, was supposed to be the Yankees' No. 2 starter, but now may be relegated to long man.
In December, Garcia signed a one-year, $4 million contract that includes incentives. Presumably, he thought he would be in the rotation, but now he may be team's sixth or seventh starter.
The Yankees could open up a place in the rotation if they were to either move Hughes back to the bullpen or trade him. The Yankees have spoken all winter about how Hughes is getting into better shape and they expect him to be a starter. At this point, he would seem like the favorite to be the No. 5 starter, but the Yankees will likely make him compete to win his spot.
With Rafael Soriano and David Robertson serving as the bridge to Mariano Rivera, Hughes would seem much more valuable if he can regain his All-Star starter form from the first half of 2010.
Andrew Marchand covers the Yankees for ESPNNewYork.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.