Hiroki Kuroda didn’t want to leave the Dodgers last July, using his no-trade clause to block deals to both the Tigers and Red Sox, according to major-league sources.
But now that the Dodgers have effectively replaced Kuroda with lefty Chris Capuano, the landscape for the Japanese right-hander is different – “wide open” in the words of one source.
Kuroda, who turns 37 on Feb. 10, is considering all options, the source said, including major-league teams regardless of location as well as the Hiroshima Carp, his former club in Japan.
The Carp have made Kuroda an offer, according to Japanese reports. The Rockies are quietly pursuing him, according to the Denver Post. The Red Sox, Tigers and Diamondbacks are among the teams that have liked Kuroda in the past.
While Kuroda chose not to be traded in July, he is said to be more open to playing elsewhere after going through the thought process of considering other clubs last summer. Also, he likely could earn more with a major-league club than one in Japan.
The Dodgers, who are reducing payroll while in the process of getting sold, evidently could not afford Kuroda, who earned $12 million last season. The team signed Capuano to a back-loaded contract; the lefty will earn $3 million next season and $6 million in ’13.
Kuroda went 13-16 last season, but his 3.07 ERA was the best of his four-year major-league career. He also worked 202 innings, his highest total since coming to the majors.
- Ken Rosenthal