Yankees Get: Hiroki Kuroda
Tonight the Yankees were able to secure one of their few reliable starting pitchers, signing Hiroki Kuroda for a 1 year and 15 million dollars. The deal itself may be a pure dollar overpay, but his value to the team and the fact that it is a 1-year deal mitigate that.
Kuroda is coming off a season in which he produced 3.9 WAR, and posted an xFIP of 3.67. Fangraphs valued Kuroda at $17.5 million to the Yankees last year, so when you look at what he will make next season it looks like a bargain. If one expects (as they should) some regression to to his age, I would conservatively pencil Kuroda in at 3 WAR, which means they would pay $5 million per win.
Kuroda increased his groundball rate (GB%) to 52.3%, an improvement from a weak 2011 in which his GB% was 43.2 and he was worth only 2.2 Wins Above Replacement (WAR).
Another benefit of Kuroda is that he is durable, pitching at-or-near 200 innings each of the last three seasons. This is very important for a Yankees staff with a lot of questions, especially with CC Sabathia coming off surgery on his elbow.
In terms of money, there is not a better fit for this Yankees team. With the new CBA kicking in in 2014, there will be much more restrictive luxury tax that the Yankees will not want to pay. Signing a player like Kuroda for one season goes a long way towards being able to both try and manage the short term, as well as the long term goals of the franchise. This will give them more flexibility in their negotiations with Robinson Cano, who is a free agent after next season.
To sum it up: The Yankees were able to acquire a good pitcher at roughly market value, without having to sacrifice any more long-term financial flexibility. This move is certainly a win for the Yankees.