Hiroki Kuroda Heads Back To Japan, Makes Yankees Decision Easier

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The three-year run of soon-to-be 40-year-old Hiroki Kuroda in pinstripes has officially come to an end. According to a tweet from @proyakyuantenna, the right-hander has chosen to return to Japan to conclude his professional baseball career. Kuroda has signed a contract with the Hiroshima Carp and will pitch in Japan in 2015. What does this do for the New York Yankees? It makes their decision that much more clear cut to move forward with the plan of getting younger and cheaper in their starting rotation. 

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Kuroda finishes his Yankees career with a record of 38-33, with an ERA of 3.44. He was a stabilizing force in 2014, remaining the only fully healthy member of the starting rotation that was rolled out on Opening Day. The elder statesman of the rotation, Kuroda posted a record of 11-9, with a 3.71 ERA–his highest during his Yankees’ tenure. He finished just under 200 innings, which is far more than an almost 40-year-old should be throwing at this point in his career.

Some naysayers believe this is a catastrophic event for the Yankees, as it shortens the quality available arms for the Yankees to choose from, but first of all, the Yankees were waiting for an answer from Kuroda as to whether or not he even had a desire to pitch in the big leagues in 2015. Secondly and probably most importantly, at what price was it going to take to get a 40-year-old to come back for one last time, and how would he fair during the second half of the season?

As luck would have it, Kuroda received offers from both the San Diego Padres and the Los Angeles Dodgers. No offer that we are aware of was made to Kuroda from the Yankees. Now the Yankees aren’t in the unenviable position of telling a solid guy that it’s time to move on. Best of luck to Kuroda in Japan in 2015!

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