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Dodgers officially wave goodbye as Hiroki Kuroda signs with Yanks

January 13, 2012 |  9:35 pm

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Nearly six months after they tried to trade him to save $4 million in salary and get a prospect in return, only to have the right-hander nix the deal, Hiroki Kuroda is officially gone.

Kuroda reportedly signed a one-year deal with the Yankees Friday for $10 million.

So long, best of luck, but can’t pretend to understand it.

Kuroda was supposedly so loyal to the Dodgers, he exercised the no-trade clause in his contract last July. The thought then was, in 2012 he would either return to the Dodgers or go back to pitch in Japan.

The Dodgers thought so too, at least initially. But he was apparently trying to get close to the $12 million he made last season, so General Manager Ned Colletti filled his rotation by signing veteran starters Chris Capuano (two years, $10 million) and Aaron Harang (two years, $12 million).

Both will make $3 million next season, or 60% of what Kuroda ended up signing for. Of course, you could certainly argue they’re about a combined 60% as good as Kuroda.

Kuroda went a misleading 13-16 last season, actually pitching much better than his record indicated. He had a 3.07 ERA and a 1.21 WHIP and struck out a career-high 161. And even though he’ll turn 37 next month, there was no doubt he could still pitch and the Dodgers wanted him back.

Even after signing Capuano and Harang and filling out his rotation more than a month ago, Colletti said Monday he was still talking to Kuroda up until two days earlier before finally realizing he wasn’t going to bring him back. At this point, of course, the only reasonable way to still have signed him was to trade one of the other five starters. And only Chad Billingsley would figure as a possible trade candidate.

The Yankees got a quality starter at a very reasonable price. The bankrupt Dodgers got to wave goodbye.

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Helping baseball's scouts in a post-'Moneyball' world

-- Steve Dilbeck

Photo: Former Dodgers pitcher Hiroki Kuroda. Credit: Katie Falkenberg / For The Times

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