The New York Yankees have re-signed pitcher Hiroki Kuroda, who unexpectedly became the #2 man in the starting rotation despite coming from the National League West to the notoriously tough American League East in 2012. Truthfully, Kuroda pitched better than ace CC Sabathia at times and helped the Yankees survive Andy Pettitte’s unfortunate ankle injury. I had the pleasure of watching Kuroda pitch in person several times this year at Yankee Stadium, including in Game 3 of the American League Division Series (forever known as the Raul Ibanez game), and each time he was impressive.
This was a no-brainer for the Yankees. They would have had a sizeable hole in their starting rotation if Kuroda left to return to the West Coast or Japan. And for once the Yankees actually benefitted from baseball’s new labor agreement because it meant that whichever MLB team signed Kuroda would have given up a first-round draft pick, a seemingly high sacrifice for a pitcher they would only have for another year or two tops.
These contract negotiations usually drag on so it’s nice to see the Yankees reach a deal with such a key player so quickly. Just something else to be thankful for.