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The Hiroki Kuroda the Dodgers never knew: Now he'll go anywhere?

December 3, 2011 |  4:00 pm

Hiroki Kuroda

Well, well, what have we here?

Hiroki Kuroda, who exercised the no-trade clause in his contract last summer because he wanted to remain in Los Angeles, is now apparently open to signing with just about any team east of the 605 Freeway.

Curious, eh? He made $12 million last season, and although what he’s looking to make in 2012 hasn’t been leaked, it was enough for Dodgers General Manager Ned Colletti to decide early that Kuroda was unlikely to return.

Now come reports he’s interested in signing with the Rockies, with the Red Sox,  the Angels, the Diamondbacks, with just about any team with an extra couple of mil to spend.

Of course, if he would have accepted a trade at the July 31 deadline, he could have saved the Dodgers about $4 million in salary. Which just might have made the difference in being able to bring him back for 2012.

If Kuroda had accepted a trade last summer –- and the Red Sox were considered a prime suitor –- the Dodgers not only might have saved his $4 million in salary, but also have received a nice prospect in return.

But out of loyalty he decided to stay? And now he’s willing to go, the Dodgers are $4 million poorer and getting nothing in return.

It’s not Kuroda’s fault the Dodgers’ payroll is being scaled back about $10 million this season, but whatever he was asking was beyond what Colletti viewed as the Dodgers’ reach. Now they’ve gambled that Chris Capuano can keep his duct-taped elbow intact the next two years at a cost of $10 million, and that is not a step up over Kuroda.

Hey, all the best. Go get as much as you can. It is the American way. There was never a single complaint about his effort on the mound. His moves off it, however, were left wanting.

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-- Steve Dilbeck

Photo: Hiroki Kuroda. Credit: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times

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