Another Los Angeles team -- well, sort of -- enters the Kuroda sweepstakes
Jon Heyman of CBS Sports is reporting that Hiroki Kuroda has yet another suitor. The Los Angeles Angels, who have never had Kuroda before but are on the west coast, where Kuroda has enjoyed playing, want him to fill one of the many vacant spots in their rotation.
Now, Kuroda could be a backup plan for the Angels, who are also interested in Zack Greinke, and possibly in bringing Dan Haren back, depending on the need and his cost. They could also be hoping to just get him now, though, and not have to commit long-term to Greinke's lofty contract demands. Since they do have money, and a market Kuroda would likely enjoy returning to, they are a danger to Boston's hopes to reel in the right-hander.
What might be even more important from Heyman's piece, though, is that Kuroda wants to return to Japan to end his career. Not necessarily this year, but maybe as soon as 2014. This means that offering him a two-year deal might not entice him as it was thought it could. And if that's the case, and Boston has to give up what should be a draft pick in the low 40s in order to sign Kuroda, it creates more of a question about whether he should be the intended target or not. A pick in the 40s isn't amazing, but it also isn't nothing, and one year of a pitcher might not be the way to spend that asset.
You can easily flip that the other way, though, and take a risk on Kuroda returning to the majors in 2014, even if it isn't with Boston. He'll likely be a qualifying offer candidate again, and Boston could recoup their pick, or haul him in for that single-year commitment once more. There's a lot to think about here.
Of more concern is that, if it only takes a one-year commitment, and the Yankees are planning to be under the luxury tax in 2014 instead of 2013, that Boston's financial advantage over a team Kuroda is familiar with has vanished. Boston can still go dollar-for-dollar with them, but that might mean whoever ends up with Kuroda is paying a very silly amount for one year of work.