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Daily Dodger in review: Hiroki Kuroda earns a repeat performance but at what price?

HIROKI KURODA, 35, starting pitcher

Final 2010 stats: 11-13, 3.39 ERA, 159 strikeouts, 48 walks, 1.16 WHIP in 193 2/3 innings.

Contract status: Free agent.

The good: More evidence that a won-loss record is not always indicative of how well a starter pitches. And Kuroda pitched very well, and actually grades out slightly higher than Chad Billingsley as the Dodgers’ No. 2 starter last season.

When he’s on, which he was more than not, he’s extremely tough. Can throw a variety of pitches for strikes. Quickly erased any lingering doubts about returning to form after getting nailed in the head with a line drive in 2009. Was actually his best overall season as a Dodger.

The bad: Nothing particularly glaring. Had a slightly rough April (4.42 ERA), but otherwise was pretty consistent all season. And stayed off the disabled list for the first time.

What’s next: One of the more challenging tasks for the Dodgers. Certainly, they’d love to have him back. The big question, of course, is at what price? He made $15.4 million last season. If they offer him arbitration, he’ll get more than that. A lot of money for a pitcher who turns 36 in February. Plus, he’s been mum on what he wants to do, and some believe he would like to end his career back in Japan.

The take:The Dodgers need to make every reasonable effort to bring Kuroda back. He still has excellent stuff, is a tremendous competitor, and although his English is not what you would like after three seasons, is well liked and respected by teammates and coaches.

The uncertainty is over how long you sign him. If he wants a three-year deal, it’s probably too risky. Not for the kind of money he’ll demand at his age. One year would be great, but two might be where the Dodgers realistically have to draw a line.

The Dodgers, however, currently have only three starting pitchers (Clayton Kershaw, Ted Lillyand Billingsley). Getting Kuroda back would give them a superior four starters. This will come down to a question of that ol` Dodger favorite --- money, and on both sides.

-- Steve Dilbeck

Comments () | Archives (8)

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Kuroda should've been dealt last year for a couple of good prospects, knowing (A) He was at his peak value and, (B) At $15+ mil you couldn't afford to offer arbitration.
Now we're left with no player, no draft picks, no nothing. Another management blunder.
Then there's the question - at 36, do you really want him for another 2-3 years? Because that's what it will take to keep him in the states.

I would like to see Kuroda stay since it doesn't seem that they can afford a big FA like Lee. Kuroda did fine and if the offense can give him a little more support things could be just fine.

Multiple sources state that Kuroda's contract has language that forces the Dodgers to allow him to be a free agent. He doesn't have enough years to be an FA per the collective bargaining agreement. This implies that he becomes an FA by being non-tendered, so the arbitration angle is moot. In essence, the Dodgers agreed in the contract not to offer Kuroda arbitration and to non-tender him, allowing him to be an FA.

David's comment is correct. Does anybody know yet if he still wants to play or is he retiring. We have heard nothing from his agent.

Kuroda - another pain in the neck for the Dodgers.
No way McCourt will ante up for Kuroda.
McCourt, McCheap ...

Should I stay or should I go?

Here's what's likely to happen:
while the dodger dither over who else to sign, another team will come in and sign Kuroda to a 'nice' one year contract at [or near] what he was making last year ...

the LA front office is clueless

Seems to me Kiroda has made it clear he wants to finish back in Japan, considering it's doubtful he'll get even as much as he made last year. I'm sure Colletti is looking elsewhere, unless Hiroki relents on the money, again, doubtful.


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