The fallout from the Robinson Cano signing is sure to be enormous for the Yankees, and the club has wasted no time beginning its damage control campaign. Just hours after Cano signed his big deal, New York reached a new one-year, $16 million agreement with veteran right-hander Hiroki Kuroda, reports Joel Sherman of the NY Post.
This is the second straight year that the 38-year-old and the Yankees have done a sort of qualifying offer tango, the only difference being that Kuroda gets an extra million this time around. His new contract also includes up to $500,000 in performance bonuses.
Kuroda has been incredibly consistent during his two seasons in the Bronx: the Japanese right-hander posted a 3.32 ERA and 6.8 K/9 over 219⅔ innings in 2012, then followed that up with a 3.31 ERA and 6.7 K/9 over 201⅓ innings in 2013. Had he not been strafed by a line drive in his first start this past season, his numbers the last two years would have been virtually identical.
While questions about his durability are sure to arise now that he's encroaching on 40, Kuroda hasn't shown any signs of slowing down since making the trip across the Pacific in 2008. He's averaged 187 innings per year over the past six seasons and hasn't thrown fewer than 196 innings since 2009.
Re-signing Kuroda is a great place for the Yankees to start rebuilding their rotation, but they still have quite a ways to go before its complete. As of this moment, the 2014 rotation is Kuroda, C.C. Sabathia, Ivan Nova, possibly David Phelps and a big question mark. Michael Pineda is supposedly healthy enough to make that long-awaited Yankee debut next spring, but there's no telling when his arm might give out again.
Given those concerns and Cano's departure, it now seems fait accompli that the Bombers will be big players in the impending free-for-alls for guys like Matt Garza and Masahiro Tanaka. New York was reluctant to hit the $200-million mark with Cano, but could potentially get both Garza and Tanaka for that kind of money. And if A-Rod's suspension is upheld later this month, freeing up $27 million in taxable funds, all bets are off on what Steinbrenner will do.