Sunday, December 4, 2011

Hiroki Kuroda open to playing elsewhere

With the Dodgers singing Chris Capuano on Friday, the door effective shut on Hiroki Kuroda's chances of returning to the Dodgers.

Now, Kuroda has said he's willing to play elsewhere -- and not just in Japan.

General Manager Ned Colletti had already decided before Thanksgiving the Dodgers would have a hard time re-signing Kuroda. Now, the Angels, Diamondbacks, Red Sox, Rockies and Tigers all have interest in the 37-year-old righty. The Carp of the Japanese league have already made him an offer to return home.

The Diamondbacks, Red Sox and Tigers were all mentioned as possible suitors at the July 31 deadline.

Many were upset at Kuroda's decision to not waive his no-trade clause to help the Dodgers acquire young talent at the trade deadline. I was disappointed, but I respected Kuroda's loyalty to the team.

He's apparently seeking a $12 to $13 million deal on the open market, which he should have no problem landing because he won't require a long-term commitment.

Some are upset at this notion, but I'm really not. Kuroda is free to do what he wants. The Dodgers simply mismanaged their money and now have little chance to retain the solid right-hander.

I wish him luck where ever he ends up. If I was a betting man, I'd put my money on Boston.


ESPN's Buster Olney tweeted earlier Aaron Harang might be a fit as the Dodgers' No. 5 starter.

I said as much in my last post. I'd be all for it. Having Capuano and Harang would come be a much better alternative to Kuroda than just Capuano.

I could see the Dodgers bringing him in on a back-loaded contract. The Dodgers are also, for some reason, searching for a veteran utility player and veteran middle reliever.

The last is more puzzling than the first. If the Dodgers sign Harang, Nathan Eovaldi moves to the bullpen. I know he's still a rookie, but Eovaldi in the bullpen would all but eliminate the "need" for a veteran reliever.

The money would be much better spent on Harang than some middling relief pitcher.

One thing's for certain: the Dodgers won't likely make any big splashes at the Winter Meetings (which start tomorrow). It'd take payroll flexibility and/or a creative GM, and the Dodgers have neither of those.

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