41-year-old starting pitcher Hiroki Kuroda, who played three seasons for the New York Yankees, plans to retire at the end of this season
Former New York Yankees pitcher Hiroki Kuroda has announced he will retire following the end of the 2016 season according to Japan’s Kyodo News.The 41-year-old Kuroda has pitched the last two seasons for the Hiroshima Carp, the club where he spent the first 11 years of his professional career before making the jump to the United States to try his hand against MLB hitters.
Even at 41, Kuroda was still extremely effective for the Carp this season, pitching to a 3.09 ERA in 151.2 innings of work. He’s certainly not overpowering anyone at 5.8 K/9, but he continues to limit walks (1.8 BB/9) and keep the ball in the yard (0.8 HR/9). Over his 13 seasons for Hiroshima, Kuroda has compiled a 3.55 ERA in 2021.2 innings.
Kuroda was an immediate success in the big leagues after joining the Los Angeles Dodgers at age 33. He had a 3.45 ERA and 3.55 FIP over four seasons in L.A., racking up 699 innings during that time.
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The Yankees managed to lure Kuroda to the Bronx on a one year deal following the 2011 season. He was incredibly consistent during his three-year stint with New York, never giving the team fewer than 32 starts or 199 innings, while always posting an ERA in the mid-3.00s.
One underrated aspect of Kuroda’s tenure with the Yankees from the team’s perspective is that he was willing to go year to year with them, signing three consecutive one-year deals. That arrangement benefited both sides.
New York received excellent production from a veteran starter without having to be locked into yet another albatross deal, and Kuroda $41 million during his time with the Yankees, and ultimately had the freedom to return to Japan when he felt the time was right.
Kuroda sounded pleased with all he’s accomplished in his announcement and hopes to go out on top by leading the Carp to a championship:
"The Japan Series will be the end. I’ve decided to hang it up. I’ve been shown an excellent dream with an excellent team. And now I want to go out with a smile on my face, all of us celebrating a championship pouring beer on each other."
Kuroda was one of the best Yankees pitchers of the decade. I’ll always remember him as a consummate professional ballplayer who was a master of his craft.