Before then, Kuroda was 11-7 with a 2.33 ERA, but following that, Kuroda went 0-6 with a 6.56 ERA, which ended his 2013 record at 11-13 and a 3.31 ERA with 201 innings in 32 starts. In 2012, Kuroda was 16-11 with a 3.32 ERA in 33 starts and gave the Yankees a ton of quality innings over the last two seasons.
So even with the late season swoon, the Yankees and general manager Brian Cashman will look to re-sign Kuroda, who is a free agent and will need to make a decision on his future. Aside from going back to the Yankees, Kuroda could always return to the Los Angeles Dodgers, where he pitched for four seasons, or Kuroda could always go back to his native Japan and finish his career in his native country.
“Of course we’d love to have him back, but I don’t know what’s going to happen,” Cashman said at his 2013 post-mortem press conference on Tuesday. “But he did a great job. Obviously he was our ace this year and regardless, we were really happy we were able to acquire him and hope that we can maintain a relationship with him as a player on this roster next year.”
Last winter, Kuroda has offers from the Dodgers, Angels and Japan as well as the Yankees and it came down to the Yankees and Japan, and he decided to return to the Bronx on a one-year, $15 million deal. Before the late season struggles, the Yankees signing Kuroda back with a potential raise almost seemed like a given, but as the season wore on, it wasn't as guaranteed as it once was, yet Cashman will still look to re-sign the Japanese right-hander.
When asked before the final day of the regular season, Kuroda said he wasn't completely set on returning back to Japan to play his final professional years there and would consult with his family on making a decision.
“When I make that decision, I should look at the whole year, instead of the last few weeks or months,” he said. “I should look at the whole season, and think whether I should make that decision for the next year. Obviously, I have to talk to my family, too. I haven’t really considered finishing my career in Japan, or playing the last year of my career in Japan,” he said. “I always take one year at a time. Again, anything’s possible. But that’s not something that I plan to do.”
Next year, only CC Sabathia and Ivan Nova are the only two starters guaranteed for the Yankees rotation, as with Kuroda, Phil Hughes is also a free agent and not expected back and Andy Pettitte has announced his retirement from baseball following the 2013 season, so it makes some sense for the Yankees to be interested in Kuroda, but with all of the innings he has pitched, how much would an effective 39-year-old give the team in another season?
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