It was unknown what Hiroki Kuroda would do—-re-sign with the Yankees, retire, go to another team or go home to Japan.
He’s going home to finish his career where it started—in Japan.
Kuroda, who’ll turn 40 in February, was the only Yankees pitcher to qualify for the ERA title in 2014 (meaning a pitcher had to pitch at least 162 innings). Had he wanted to come back, he would have easily slotted into the #3 or 4 slot in the Yankees rotation. At what price, I don’t know. He made $16MM in 2014, and I wouldn’t have wanted to go there. Maybe 1 year at $10-$12MM, but…
Anyway, the youth movement will continue, we would presume. Some older guys can’t be moved and you’ll have to wait until their contracts expire before you can get rid of deteriorating ex-stars with big contracts and advanced age (Teixeira, A-rod, CC, Beltran).
Slowly we’ve seen some age removed from the team. Pettitte, Rivera, Jeter, Kuroda…
Kuroda went 38-33, 3.44, ERA+ 117 in his three years as a Yankee, going 16-11, 3.32 in 2012, 11-13, 3.31 in 2013 and 11-9, 3.71 this past season. His consistency extended to his years as a Dodger (2008-2011) before he was a Yankee. For in those years, his ERA was 3.45 with an ERA+ of 113. He was 41-46 as a Dodger. Check out his stats on baseballreference.com. You’ll be amazed at the consistency.
For his career, he finishes at .500 even. 79-79 with an ERA of 3.45, ERA+ 115. He deserved better than a .500 record. Too often, both with the Dodgers and with the Yankees, Kuroda was the victim of poor run support. You’d think an ERA+ of 115 should have given him a 90-68 career record, not 79-79.
He started five postseason games in his career, and once again the numbers are consistent. 2-2, 3.94. He was 0-1 in two starts in the 2012 postseason for the Yanks, a no-decision in the ALDS against Baltimore despite giving up just 2 runs in 8 1/3 innings, and a loss to the Tigers in the ALCS despite giving up just 3 runs in 7 2/3.
I begrudge no one the right to go home. Kuroda was an effective pitcher for the Yanks for three years and deserved a better record than what he had.
Thanks for three good years, Hiroki, and best of luck.