Posted November 20, 2012

Report: Yankees agree to one-year, $15-million deal with Hiroki Kuroda

MLB

The Yankees have agreed to terms with free agent starting pitcher Hiroki Kuroda on a one-year contract, reports ESPN.com’s Buster Olney.

The deal is worth $15 million, plus incentives, according to Olney. Kuroda’s one-year deal with the team in 2012 was worth $10 million.

Although recent reports had indicated that Kuroda preferred to pitch in Southern California, the Yankees were “very confident” that they will retain the starting pitcher, ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark reported earlier.

Last week, the Dodgers and Angels appeared to become the favorites to land Kuroda due to his reported desire to remain close to his two daughters, who attend elementary school in the area. But the situation took a recent turn, according to Stark’s previous report.

The Yankees are now acting “very confident” they’re going to sign the 37-year-old Kuroda, and believe he will either pitch for them or return to Japan, say agents and clubs that have spoken with them. Meanwhile, other teams that have been reported as having interest in Kuroda — particularly the Los Angeles Dodgers and Los Angeles Angels – appear to have shifted their focus elsewhere.

The right-hander entered free agency after capping off a stellar year in the Bronx with two strong postseason outings, including an 11-strikeout effort in his ALCS start against the Tigers. He posted a 16-11 record, 3.32 ERA and 1.17 WHIP in a career-high 219.2 innings during the regular season, all top-10 in the American League.

Kuroda has expressed a desire to finish his career in Japan, but has not said when, according to the report. The Yankees are in search of depth in their rotation behind ace CC Sabathia, and retaining Kuroda would represent a crucial step.


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