The offseason is still young, but there have already been changes to the market. Early on I thought Mark Buehrle would be the best option if he would be willing to come to Boston. He is a solid, consistent and healthy option. He has drawn a lot of interest this offseason and may have several offers already. Recently though, a front office favorite in Boston — Hiroki Kuroda — has become available and even shown interest in moving off the West Coast.
This weekend the Dodgers signed Chris Capuano who was another good option, but has a dubious history with two Tommy John surgeries on his elbow already. That gives the Dodgers a pretty full rotation leaving Kuroda on the outside with no room to return. It could be a posturing move, but after denying trades away from the west coast before his agent said he is open to a move this season.
At 37 years old Kuroda is aging, but he is looking for a one year deal, making him an interesting option for a team with two players out in 2012 with Tommy John Surgery. According to early rumors he is looking for a one year deal with a value around $12 million. According to Fangraphs.com he has been worth $52.8 million in his four seasons in MLB, and an average of $13.65 million. In 2011 his value was equated to $10.7 million making him a solid, but not spectacular year like he had in 2010 when he totaled 4.1 fWAR.
Taking this all into account offering Kuroda $10-12 million for 2012 seems like a reasonable idea, but something to take into account is the move from Dodger Stadium and the NL West to Fenway Park and the AL East. The obvious response is his numbers will suffer and I agree with that. Likely an adjustment in his K/BB from the solid 3.21, but shouldn’t fall much and probably still near 3. That will largely be a factor of the league.
His home runs should stay fairly constant even though he moves out of Dodger Stadium. This year Dodger Stadium was a strong park for left handed power hitting, inflating home runs 17 percent. That is a big switch to Fenway which deflated left handed home runs by 21 percent. Overall Fenway is more of a hitter’s park with a big boost to doubles, but Kuroda shouldn’t suffer too much due to park factors.
It looks like Kuroda makes a lot of sense as a short term fix, but unlike other one year deals he isn’t as big of an injury question. If his deal is between $10-12 million he makes a lot of sense as your number four pitcher for 2012. He has more upside even moving to Boston than Buehrle, but I would rank both at the top of my list to fill out the rotation.
Categories: Boston Red Sox