With Hiroshima offer, Hiroki Kuroda must make a choice soon
As news items go, it ranks up there with "Matt Kemp Is Pretty Good" or "Frank McCourt Complicates Court Process."
Still, at least the Hiroshima Carp’s interest in bringing back right-hander Hiroki Kuroda has become official.
Nikkan Sport has reported, and it has in turn been picked up and translated by NPB Tracker’s Patrick Newman, that the Carp have made an offer to Kuroda for next season. Also, surprise: Kuroda is happy about it.
“I’m happy that they would evaluate my contributions like that," Kuroda told Nikkan. "Naturally, I’m happy. A feeling that they really want to win came across. [Hiroshima’s competitiveness this season] has come to a frustrating place, to a place where they are one step away…. I’m very happy I got an offer from the Carp.”
Of course he is. But really, what else would you expect him to say? Kuroda has been very careful all along to pay homage to his former team. He’s nothing if not courteous and respectful.
He is also seemingly very happy living in Los Angeles with his family. Happy enough that he turned down an opportunity at the trade deadline to join a contending team and remain with the Dodgers.
For now, he is apparently deciding whether to re-sign with the Dodgers or return to the Carp. I still believe those are the only choices the free agent is seriously going to consider, though Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal thinks having gone through the thought process of joining another team back in July opens him up to the possibility now.
Even though he’ll be 37 next season, the Dodgers would very much like him back. He went a misleading 13-16 last season with a career-low 3.07 ERA. And if he leaves, they need to fill at least one and possibly two spots in a rotation that would only return Clayton Kershaw, Chad Billingsley and Ted Lilly.
Kuroda, however, has to understand he needs to make a decision relatively quickly so the Dodgers know how to address their off-season. That would be the one dealing with players, and not ownership.
-- Steve Dilbeck