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Category: Hiroki Kuroda

Dodgers web musings: Clayton Kershaw is looking serious

Clayton-kershaw_600

Good news: Clayton Kershaw is apparently feeling challenged by his own success.

In a video, Buster Olney takes a look at Clayton Kershaw’s off-season regimen for the “Baseball Tonight” crew.

The reigning National League Cy Young winner told Olney:

“I feel like I have to go more over the top than ever because people are having these expectations that I’m going to come in and not be ready to go, so more so than ever I’m motivated to be ready to go.”

Also on the web:

-- Dodgers.com’s Ken Gurnick previews the Dodgers heading into spring, saying they “look to improve upon last year's 82-79 record by loading up on pitching, improved defense and hope.”

-- Jon Garland lives. He’s signed a minor league contract with the Cleveland Indians.

-- Kevin Goldstein has his annual list of the top 101 prospects for Baseball Prospectus. Sadly, only one Dodger makes the list: Zach Lee at No. 70.

-- Mike Petriello at Mike Scoioscia's Tragic Illness thinks the rest of the National League’s first basemen may have dumbed down to James Loney territory.

-- Roberto Baly at Vin Scully Is My Homeboy looks at how the Dodgers roster was built.

-- Scott Andes at Lasorda’s Lair is worried what new ownership might mean for Dodger Stadium.

-- Eric Stephen, this time at SB Nation Los Angeles, on Tommy Lasorda being honored with a statue in the Dominican Republic.

-- In a video, Dodger Thoughts’ Jon Weisman reveals his own strigent off-season conditioning regimen.

-- The Seattle Times’ Geoff Baker looks at the comeback attempt of Hong-Chin Kuo, who says: "It has to come from inside me.''

-- Tip to Weisman: Alex Bleth at Bronx Bomber takes a long look at new Yankee right-hander Hiroki Kuroda.

-- Bryan Painter at The Oklahoman profiles new Dodgers assistant trainer Greg Harrel (includes video interview).

RELATED:

Why I owe Vin Scully cookies, and you owe me

Frank McCourt: A few words in praise of Dodgers owner

For Matt Kemp, the season doesn't start on Opening Day

-- By Steve Dilbeck

Photo: Clayton Kershaw delivers a pitch against the Angels during an interleague game at Anaheim Stadium last season. Credit: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times / July 2, 2011

Dodgers Web musings: Clayton Kershaw and the long term [Videos]

Plenty to get to today, leading off with … so the Dodgers have signed Clayton Kershaw to a two-year, $19-million deal. Exactly right for the moment or does more have to be done?

Buster Olney argues in this ESPN video that the new owner’s first order of business should be to sign Kershaw to a long-term deal. He argues Kershaw would be only 26 in his first year of free agency and free-spending teams like the Yankees, Red Sox and Phillies would be circling.

Olney estimates a five-year deal for Kershaw would cost between $100 to $120 million.

Meanwhile, Robert Timm at Dodger Dugout argues there is risk in signing any pitcher to a long-term deal and the Dodgers were smart to settle for a two-year agreement.

Also on the Web:

--The Left Field Pavilion has organized a charity softball tournament of teams representing several Dodgers blogs on Saturday at the Big League Dreams fields in West Covina.

Play starts at 8 a.m. Admission is only $3 and includes a drink. Fans are asked to bring a box or bag of food for the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank.

--It never ends: USA Today thinks the Dodgers could be in line for a $5-billion TV rights deal. Guess that $3 billion Frank McCourt wanted to sign up for with Fox might have been just a tad low.

--Eric Stephen at True Blue LA has his Dodgers preview. He doesn’t think Jerry Sands makes the 25-man roster, but Josh Fields does.

--FanGraphs’ David Laurila has a lengthy and detailed Q&A with Dodgers scouting director Logan White, while Dodgers Thoughts’ Jon Weisman interviews farm director De Jon Watson.

--MLB.com’s Spencer Fordin looks at the Dodgers' top 20 prospects, while ESPN’s Keith Law (Insider status required) rates their system 12th overall in the majors.

--The Times’ Dylan Hernandez talks to James Loney about his bizarre freeway accident. Loney blames it on a blow to his head.

--The Times’ Bill Shaikin adds an 11th and, really, possibly final Dodgers bidder in Michael Heisley, the 75-year-old owner of the Memphis Grizzlies. He could bring Jerry West into the deal.

--ESPN’s Baseball Tonight crew looks at what could be next for Matt Kemp.

--Reuters’ Sue Zeidler writes that the second round of bids on the Dodgers is due around Feb. 23.

--NBC Sports’ Tony DeMarco thinks that with the right owner the Dodgers could be a power fairly quickly.

--Fox Sports' Mike Martinez checks in with shortstop Dee Gordon. Gordon on how many bases he’s capable of stealing: “a hundred.”

--Daily News columnist Tom Hoffarth is auctioning off a Kershaw-autographed copy of his new book, “Arise,” on EBay to raise funds for a Watts literacy center.

--Daily Breeze columnist Mike Waldner looks at the Dodgers auction situation: “McCourt's first, last and always goal has been to line his pockets.”

--Oh, goody: Russell Martin tells the New York Daily News he’s all giddy the Yankees have added Hiroki Kuroda.

--And finally, Roberto Baly of Vin Scully Is My Homeboy has found a video of a vintage TV commercial, this one from 1981. Warning: Hope you like looking at a shirtless Bill Russell.

 

-- Steve Dilbeck

 

Hiroki Kuroda talks about leaving Dodgers, why he chose Yankees

Hiroki-kuroda_600

Hiroki Kuroda confirmed what Dodgers General Manager Ned Colletti said earlier this month:  Colletti remained in contact with his agent until he decided to sign with the New York Yankees three weeks ago.

Kuroda said the Dodgers were exploring ways they could fit him onto their roster, even though they had already signed free-agent starters Aaron Harang and Chris Capuano.

“They were unable to ever make a formal offer,” Kuroda said in Japanese. “I couldn’t wait any longer.”

The Japanese right-hander took a one-year $10-million contract with the Yankees that included a full no-trade clause. The deal was officially announced this week.

The reasons behind his exercising a similar clause last year to prevent the Dodgers from trading him to an American League contender –- the Yankees were believed to be among the suitors -– were no longer issues. He wasn’t backing out of a commitment. He wouldn't be joining a team midseason, something he said he thought would take away from the joy of winning.

Asked whether he would have remained with the Dodgers had they made him a reasonable offer, Kuroda said, “It’s hard to talk about something hypothetical. Obviously, I was comfortable there. I liked it there. My family liked it there.”

In fact, Kuroda said his wife and two school-age daughters will remain in Los Angeles while he is in New York next season.

“Part of me is sad to leave Los Angeles,” he said. “I loved the atmosphere of the stadium.”

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Dodgers officially wave goodbye as Hiroki Kuroda signs with Yanks

Kuroda3
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.

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Dodgers Web musings: Looking back on the 2011 season

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The new year beckons, which of course requires looking back at the year ending.

Lists are everywhere these days, sort of like Republican presidential candidates. Alas, for the Dodgers, what tops these lists are not what happened on the field but in the courtroom, or at least the negotiating room.

Frank-mccourt_225Dodgers.com’s Ken Gurnick has his list of top five story lines for 2011, and bigger than Clayton Kershaw capturing the Cy Young is naturally owner Frank McCourt taking the team into bankruptcy.

ESPN/L.A.’s Tony Jackson has his own list of Dodgers’ defining moments of last season, and again, understandably, more significant than Kershaw is McCourt. This time it’s his agreeing to sell the team. Hard to top that.

Also on the Web:

-- Scott Andes of Lasorda’s Lair has completed his list of the Top Ten L.A. Dodger Bums of all-time, and coming in No. 1 is Juan Castro.

-- The Times has also concluded its countdown of L.A.’s 20 greatest sports moments, and coming in first was Kirk Gibson’s 1988 World Series home run.

The Dodgers appeared five times in the overall list, second to the Lakers’ eight times.

-- ESPN/N.Y. is reporting the Yankees are not really in on signing ex-Dodger Hiroki Kuroda, which kind of leaves the Boston Red Sox as his primary suitor.

-- Joe Block, who was not being brought back by new radio flagship station KLAC on Dodger Talk, has landed on his feet. He is the new play-by-play announcer for the Brewers, where he’ll work with none other than Bob Uecker.

-- The New York Times examines the financial problems of the Mets, who aren’t looking any better than the bankrupt Dodgers.

-- ESPN’s Buster Olney lists his top 10 rotations in baseball (Insider status required), and guess who sneaks in at 10b?

RELATED:

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Frank McCourt's spinning Dodgers wheels got to go 'round

Goodbye Eugenio Velez, the Dodgers won't be the same without you

-- Steve Dilbeck

Photos: Say what you will about Dodgers owner Frank McCourt (lower), his franchise currently has the reigning Cy Young Award winner in Clayton Kershaw and a legitimate MVP candidate in center fielder Matt Kemp (top, right and left). Credit: Associated Press and Los Angeles Times

Dodgers' 2012 rotation: Few thrills, but could have been worse

And that pretty much wraps up your 2012 Dodgers roster. All goose bumps, are you?

Word that the Dodgers are about to sign right-hander Aaron Harang would lock up their projected rotation, and pretty much close their offseason shop.

If the signing of Harang doesn’t exactly have the faithful reaching for confetti, neither should it leave them screaming into the night. He had a nice bounce-back season for the Padres in 2011 and is certainly a fine back-of-the-rotation starter. As was the recently signed Chris Capuano.

Trouble is, neither is a frontline starter, which essentially is what Hiroki Kuroda was, and now he’s officially cast adrift. After Clayton Kershaw, Kuroda was actually the Dodgers’ No. 2 starter last season.

Now the Dodgers 2012 rotation shapes up this way (with 2011 numbers):

                                    W/L      ERA     WHIP   SO/9

Clayton Kershaw            21-5    2.28    0.98    9.6

Chad Billingsley             11-11  4.21    1.45    7.3

Ted Lilly                       12-14  3.97    1.16    7.4

Aaron Harang               14-7    3.64    1.36    6.5

Chris Capuano              11-12  4.55    1.35    8.1

As a unit, after Kershaw it doesn’t have much wow factor. The rest are of the capable variety, which is probably two too many of those for a team that wants to contend for a title.

Still, they figure to give the bankrupt Dodgers a chance to win most nights, which is better than where this could have been headed.

Of course, the latter three aren’t exactly kids, nor are they known for keeping the ball in the ballpark. Lilly turns 36 next month and gave up 28 homers last season in 192 2/3 innings. Capuano is 33 and surrendered 27 homers in 186 innings. And Harang turns 34 in May and gave up 20 homers in 170 2/3 innings.

Hope Matt Kemp is doing plenty of offseason sprints.

Harang led the National League in strikeouts back in 2006 and came back with 218 strikeouts the next year. But he suffered through three consecutive losing seasons with the Reds until turning things around last season as a fly-ball pitcher for the Padres in pitching-friendly Petco Park.

He was probably the Padres’ best starter last season, though they declined their half of a $5-million mutual option for 2012.

As a final piece, he leaves the Dodgers with a solid enough rotation, though unlikely to leave the Giants all envious. And with all that age, injury seems inevitable.

But with his payroll being cut up to $20 million from a year ago, General Manager Ned Colletti is in the make-do business. When you’re making do, goose bumps are not required.

— Steve Dilbeck

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

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

Dodgers sign Chris Capuano; Hiroki Kuroda looks gone

Capuano_275Hope that new Dodgers owner leans to the left.

If not quite desperate to add a starter to their rotation, the bankrupt Dodgers were sadly at least sniffing in the area. And so it came Friday, that they signed left-handed Chris Capuano for two years and $10 million.

The agreement was first reported by ESPN’s Jim Bowden.

The addition of the fragile Capuano all but ends right-hander Hiroki Kuroda’s four-year career with the Dodgers, and leaves the Dodgers with three left-handers in their rotation — Clayton Kershaw, Ted Lilly and Capuano. Chad Billingsley is their only certain right-handed starter. Right-hander Nate Eovaldi is currently in line to be the team’s No.3 starter.

The addition of Capuano, 33, as a fifth starter wouldn’t be so bad, though given he’s had two Tommy John surgeries, a two-year, $10-million deal should leave everyone more anxious than a teenager readying for a first kiss. Alas, it’s the going rate.

The trouble is, he’s essentially replacing Kuroda in the rotation, which is a fairly serious step down.

Kuroda will be 37 to start next season, but is arguably coming off his finest year (13-16, 3.07 ERA). He’s getting up in the years, but hasn’t shown signs of slowing down. And he wants to pitch for one more season.

Which will now likely be in Japan. His asking price was apparently out of General Manager Ned Colletti’s price range; the GM seemed to have given up on the possibility of re-signing Kuroda weeks ago. Budget restraints and all. And then there was all that money spent elsewhere (Juan Rivera, $4.5 million).

Now comes Capuano, who had Tommy John surgery in 2002 and again in 2008. He missed all of the 2008 and 2009 seasons, and nearly half of 2010.

Continue reading »

Hey, buddy, could you spare an extra starter?

Ned Colletti

Baseball’s annual winter meetings are this weekend in Dallas, but don't look for the Dodgers to exactly be at the hub of activity.

General Manager Ned Colletti is nearing the end of his budget for the 2012 season and he’s still minus two starters for the rotation.

The Dodgers must be on the every-other-year rotation plan. They went into the 2010 season with only four starters, which proved one Charlie Haeger knuckleball away from total disaster. Last year they actually thought they had an extra starter in Vicente Padilla, who managed to throw almost nine innings before ending his season due to injury, surprising no one. And then Jon Garland went down.

For 2012 they currently have Clayton Kershaw, Chad Billingsley, Ted Lilly and two holes. Rookie Nathan Eovaldi may have to fill one slot, but assuming they are unable to bring back Hiroki Kuroda, that still leaves a huge gap. Unless you’re all excited about the return of Dana Eveland.

Between Frank McCourt dropping another $9.9 million in bankruptcy-related expenses (per The Times' Bill Shaikin) just through October and Colletti dropping $4.5 million on Juan Rivera, it doesn’t appear the Dodgers have enough money left to bring back Kuroda. He wants to pitch one more season.

If the Dodgers go the free-agent route, the second-tier starters available are wholly uninspiring. Mike Petriello looked at them and his best, reluctant recommendation is … Jeff Francis?

There is, of course, the trade market. Yet to acquire a quality arm the Dodgers probably would have to give up an Andre Ethier or James Loney, both one year from free agency, simply creating another hole.

Dodgers.com’s Ken Gurnick previewed the winter meetings by estimating that Colletti had only about $10 million left to work with — and that was before he spent at least $800,000 on utility infielder Adam Kennedy.

Meanwhile, for the rest of baseball, Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder are still out there.

MORE:

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— Steve Dilbeck

Photo: Ned Colletti. Credit: Morry Gash / Associated Press.

Dodgers' prospects for re-signing Hiroki Kuroda look dim

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The Dodgers may soon be looking for two new starting pitchers.

The Dodgers were hopeful they would be able to re-sign Hiroki Kuroda for one more season, but budget constraints are apparently about to drive the right-hander elsewhere.

"I think we’re going to have a hard time signing him," Dodgers General Manager Ned Colletti said Friday.

Kuroda, who turns 37 in April, still has yet to decide whether he wants to return to Japan to pitch next season, though the financial gap between what he wants from the Dodgers and what they are offering could ultimately push him back to his homeland.

Kuroda earned $12 million last season from the Dodgers, going a misleading 13-16 with a 3.07 ERA and a 1.21 WHIP.

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