MLB Rumors: The Market For Dodgers Starter Hiroki Kuroda

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 19: Hiroki Kuroda #18 of the Los Angeles Dodgers throws a pitch against tthe Houston Astros on June 19, 2011 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California. The Dodgers won 1-0. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

I have been talking with friends, one a Dodgers fan, about the Dodgers becoming sellers at the trade deadline this season. GM Ned Colletti has not announced it yet, and I am not sure he will announce it, but his actions will be the tell. One name that I have brought up in these discussions, all via email, is the Dodgers dealing starter Hiroki Kuroda, as he is signed to just a one year deal, but has a no-trade clause. I imagine this was added into his contract by his agent so Kuroda can choose where he is traded, assuming he is traded this season. It also gives Kuroda leverage into requesting a new contract should he be dealt.

More on possible Kuroda suitors after the jump:

Yesterday, we learned via Jon Paul Morosi from Fox Sports that several teams are interested in Kuroda. Morosi reported that the Reds and Rockies had scouts at Kuroda's last start. Coincidentally, the Dodgers had some of their own front office staff watching Dodgers AA starter Nathan Eovaldi's last start. It's quite possible Eovaldi could be called up to take Kuroda's spot in the rotation if he is traded.

So who are the possible suitors for Kuroda? Morosi mentions the Reds and Rockies. I have to imagine the Yankees, Red Sox, Phillies, and possibly Atlanta and St. Louis would have interest as well. Come the trade deadline, adding quality pitching is expensive for the buyers, and as long as the Yankees and Red Sox need pitching, and they do, the price for other teams become that much higher.

In my conversations with friends, I proposed the following deal:

Kuroda, a healthy Jonathan Broxton and Rafael Furcal to the Reds for catching prospect Devin Mesoraco and first base prospect Yonder Alonso. The cost here may be a bit much, but the Reds have prospects to deal as several of their top prospects are blocked by name such as Joey Votto, Ramon Hernandez/Ryan Hanigan and Scott Rolen.

Kuroda offers the Reds a solid starting pitcher with playoff experience. Kuroda is 5-9 this season with an excellent 3.10 ERA and 1.25 WHIP. His K/9 have dropped a bit this season, and he is giving up a few more HRs as well, but he is one of the more consistent starting pitchers around. His ERA has never been higher than 3.76 and his WHIP is usually in the 1.10-1.20 range. 

Furcal, when healthy, can be the leadoff hitter the Reds have been looking for for the past few seasons. And, he is the shortstop the Reds have been looking for as well, so he fits two needs for the Reds. 

Broxton just hit a bump in his rehab, so he could be replaced in this proposed deal with someone like Blake Hawksworth as most playoff contenders will be looking for solid relief help in July.

Mesoraco is one of the best catching prospects in the game, and would fill a huge need for the Dodgers, especially after non-tendering Russell Martin in the offseason. Mesoraco has a solid work ethic, is good defensively, and is even better at the plate. And he has power. Not much not to like here. 

Alonso is blocked by 2010 MVP Joey Votto, and is probably trade bait this season as he is in his second season in AAA, and has proven 1. he can hit AAA pitching, and 2. his power has returned after recovering from a broken hamate bone injury two years ago. The Dodgers have a need at first base, as it is becoming more and more likely to this Dodgers fan at least, that James Loney's days in LA are numbered. Alonso could step in and play first base for me starting today.

I don't see the Rockies being serious about dealing for Kuroda as the price would be higher since he would be traded in the division. 

I can see the Yankees, Red Sox and Phillies being serious contenders for Kuroda as each team has pitching prospects that the Dodgers could have interest in. The Braves could offer Mike Minor straight up for Kuroda, as he appears to be the Braves big trade chip with the surplus of pitching prospects in their farm system.

To summarize, the Dodgers would do well to deal Kuroda by the July 31st trade deadline, assuming Kuroda waives his no trade clause.

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