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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Hiroki Kuroda leaning toward the Dodgers

Tony Jackson reports that Kuroda is leaning towards coming to pitch for LA and the decision could come very soon. Apparently, Kuroda might choose the Dodgers over the Mariners (the other contender for him) simply because of his close relationship with All Start closer Takashi Saito. The Dodgers' offer is believed to be around 3 years for $30 million a year. Personally, I have mixed feelings toward this deal. He had a great deal last year in Japan with a 13-6 record and a 1.85 era but that is in Japan. The Japanese baseball league is judged relatively in terms of talent to be somewhere in between the Majors and AAA.

From the things I have read on Kuroda, he essentially has three decent pitches but his strike out per 9 innings rate cause an alarm. In his career he only averages a k/9 ratio of a little over 6;if he can't fool the Japanese hitters, I don't think he can fool the American hitters. Of course there are exceptions to this rule especially in Saito but it's highly unlikely that the Dodgers can get two Saito type players who are better in the US than in Japan. Furthermore, his career era of 3.69 is simply not impressive. At best, I see Kuroda as a 3rd or 4th pitcher in a rotation in the majors and at worse I see him as a Kaz Ishii type pitcher who starts off great and ends up horrible. Furthermore he is 33 years old so he is past his prime and should be in decline in the next few years. With this assessment there is definitely a decent amount of risk in signing Kuroda especially to a three year deal. Yet, there is a risk to every deal a GM has to make.

With all the negatives said, I feel that this deal does have many positives in it. First of all, he's simply the best pitcher on the market right now. Although he doesn't have a proven track record in the majors, the fact that he has the ability to be a decent to above average pitcher already makes him stand out in this thin market for players. The only other player who is still on the market with a lot of potential is Colon but the injury risk with him is simply too high (I still think that the Dodgers should have signed Wolf especially since he has my first name :D). Secondly, the fact that he's not a power pitcher should help him as he ages especially since pitchers tend to pitch slower with age. All the scouting reports of him reports that he has great command and command simply does not go away with age or with the country your pitching in. Thirdly, he's a fierce competitor and I bet that he is currently preparing himself physically and mentally for facing tougher opposition. I mean, which competitor wants to reach the end of his career knowing that he wasn't good enough to compete with the best. I know that I wouldn't want to know that. Lastly, the Dodgers have a relatively successful track record with asian players: Nomo, Park, Saito and even Kuo who provided some key victories. I have complete faith in the Dodgers scouts in the Asian market.

To conclude, I feel that this is the best move that the Dodgers could make in this market without giving up any of their young talent. Furthermore, if they could add Kuroda, then I wouldn't have to worry everyday about Colletti trading the future for another pitcher. In addition, Kuroda definitely solidifies a Dodger rotation of Penny, Lowe, Billingsley, Schmidt, and Loaiza. His Presence would solidify the rotation and increase the Dodgers chances of winning the National League West.


The Sports Lounge said...

Hi there, buddy.

Would you be able to link on over to

I'd really appreciate it, and plus - you are already a member there. But, you have one of the best blogs out there and I'm shocked that you fell out of first.

Also, the link to All Balls Sports doesn't work?!?

Anonymous said...

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This statement is true for ordinary people who do not play professional baseball. However, for a pro baseball player who already has tremendous hand to eye coordination, taking steroids can help them hit baseballs farther because of the increase in strength. If all the baseballs that get caught at the warning track go another 10 or 20 feet, the homerun totals would jump significantly, especially for fly ball hitters like Mark McGwire. Also, the added strength and increase in success would give the hitter more confidence as well as putting more fear into the pitcher.