Free agent right-hander Hiroki Kuroda "has told friends" he is only interested in playing for the New York Yankees or returning to Japan, reports David Lennon of Newsday:
Kuroda has told friends he'll pitch for either the Yankees or the Hiroshima Carp next season but hasn't decided yet.
Also, he's interested only in another one-year deal.
Similar rumors followed the right-hander last year in his first go as a free agent, claiming that he would either re-sign with the Los Angeles Dodgers or return to Japan. Seeing as how he eventually came to a deal with the Yankees, the idea that Kuroda will only sign with one MLB club should be taken with a heavy grain of salt.
Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe writes that the Dodgers would "love" to have Kuroda back, and that the Red Sox could also be in the running for the right-hander if he is open to other landing spots.
The Yankees have offered Kuroda a qualifying offer – a one-year, $13.3 million deal – which he has until the end of the week to make a decision on. If Kuroda were to pass on the Yankees’ offer and not sign with another MLB club, New York would not receive draft pick compensation despite making the requisite qualifying offer.
Kuroda, 37, put together a solid first season in New York, posting a 3.32 ERA, 2.1 BB/9 and 6.8 K/9 in nearly two hundred twenty innings across thirty-three starts. The veteran right-hander now has five major-league seasons under his belt, and has a stellar 3.42 ERA in one hundred forty-seven starts.