No huge surprise here, but Hiroki Kuroda will not be joining the Red Sox for 2013, instead electing to remain in New York with the Yankees on a 1-year, $15 million deal (first reported by Buster Olney).
The Red Sox were players for his services, yes, but not ever really significant ones that I can see. If the Yankees were going to offer him $15 million to stay in New York, that essentially ruled Boston out of contention. Even had they not, though, Boston was always something of a peripheral option for Kuroda, who would of course prefer, all else being equal, to stay where he is, or head out west to Los Angeles where he and his family put down roots earlier in his career.
Kuroda would have been a big get for a team that really needs to see a few shoes drop its way for the rotation to work out, but he was never much more than a pipe dream in case of a perfect-world scenario where they could swoop in and pick him up at market value rather than overcommitting resources on an arm that will be 38 years old come the season, however good the 37th may have been.
Still, it's a good move for the Yankees who know he plays in their park and who only had to match the best offer to get him. And a good move for the Yankees is not only a bad thing for the Sox, but also in this case helps to thin the market out further. While there's not been a significant number of free agents signed yet, the likes of Peavy, Kuroda, and yes, even Baker and Guthrie being gone means that the options are starting to vanish, and that prices will go up for quality starters since the demand for pitching tends to outweigh the supply. It's a difficult balance to maintain; hopefully the Sox will find just the right point to dip in.