Hiroki Kuroda, who turns 40-years-old in February, will return to his old team, the Hiroshima Toyo Carp, for the 2015 season. Over the past few seasons, Kuroda has contemplated retirement, but has returned to take the $12-$15 million offered by the Yankees. After four years with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Kuroda joined the Yankees during the 2012 season. Kuroda went 38-33 with a 3.44 ERA during his time tenure with the Yankees. At face value, these numbers do not justify Kuroda’s impact with the Yankees since he rarely received substantial run support. While Kuroda’s numbers do not rank with baseball’s elite, Kuroda was reliable, durable, and consistent for a team that desperately needed it. Kuroda threw 620 innings over his three seasons in New York.
CC Sabathia, Mashario Tanaka, and Michael Pineda are (hopefully) locks for the 2015 rotation while Ivan Nova, Chris Capuano, and Nathan Eovaldi will duke it out for the back half of the rotation. Max Scherzer is still available, but reports suggest that the Yankees will not be on him.
Kuroda didn’t generate many headlines with the Yankees, but he was an innings-eater that covered up a lot of holes in the rotation. The Yankees enter the 2015 season with question marks all over their rotation, so losing their only consistent starter, hurts. Still, Kuroda is 40-years-old, so fans couldn’t expect his string of consistent seasons to last forever. I’ll respect Kuroda as a respectable, professional starting pitcher that always gave his best effort. Enjoy Japan, Hiroki!