According to a Tweet from Japanese news source @proyakyunantenna, prior to New York Yankees’ starting pitcher and free agent Hiroki Kuroda deciding to return to Japan to pitch, both the San Diego Padres and the Los Angeles Dodgers had made offers of $18 million dollars and $16 million dollars respectively. The 40-year-old hurler remained the only healthy starting pitcher for the Bronx Bombers this past season, one in which the starting rotation was devastated by injuries to the likes of Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda, and C.C. Sabathia.
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It would’ve been another interesting and aggressive move by Padres’ GM A.J. Preller, as he already has a plethora of starting pitching options at his fingertips. Andrew Cashner, Tyson Ross, and Ian Kennedy lead the rotation, and free agent signings Josh Johnson and Brandon Morrow add veteran depth. What would the Padres have done had Kuroda agreed to the one-year, $18 mil pact that was offered to him by the Padres? Most likely another deal was in the works to move an arm for a shortstop or first baseman for the Padres, yet no rumblings of any pending deals have been reported over the past couple of days.
Kuroda would’ve added an extremely talented and experienced arm to the #4 spot in the Padres rotation, one that is already deep and could’ve competed with any front four in the National League. A return to the National League west probably woud’ve been the best move for Kuroda had he decided to remain in the bigs, as he showed signs of wearing down in each of the past two seasons while with the Yankees. Some are calling this a “crushing” blow to New York, but the reality of the situation is that the Yankees are trying to get younger and cheaper, and what Kuroda would’ve demanded for a 2015 salary doesn’t coincide with the Yankees’ new approach.
Give the Padres credit, they may have made a big splash with the trades that brought five new, impact bats to San Diego, but A.J. Preller and the boys are also trying to add quality depth, to guard against injury and the desire to deal from a position of strength. The team still has several top-tier prospects that can be used in any forthcoming deal, while keeping the #13 pick in the 2015 MLB First Year Player Draft in June.