The Dodgers need a Hiro
By Scott Andes
Guys, I’m getting worried. I’m very worried at this point. According to an article on the Dodgers web site, and across the blogosphere, it appears the Dodgers likely will not have enough money to resign Hiroki Kuroda. We’re in big trouble here guys.
According to the reports, GM Ned Colletti was interviewed, and stated the Dodgers might be thinking of asking Hiroki to take a 50% pay cut. Yikes! 50% pay cut? Really, Ned? Just sign him. Make him an offer….just do it….now!
Look, we’re going have a huge issue here if we have to replace Kuroda in the starting rotation. We just can’t replace him with anyone. How do you replace a guy who threw 200 innings and posted the 9th best ERA in the National League? You can’t, and you definitely can’t replace him with any of the guys the Dodgers are looking at replacing him with. With the Dodgers financial situation before their sale, and the notoriously thin status of the free agent market, the Dodgers have two choices.
1.Resign Hiroki Kuroda
2. Or….replace him with one of these useless retreads like Harang or Jeff Francis…..ughhh
Hiroki Kuroda is the former Japanese ERA champion signed by the Dodgers after the 2007 season. Kuroda pitched for only one team while in Japan, and that was the Hiroshima Carp. He pitched for 10 seasons with the Carp, after telling Hiroshima they would be the only team he would pitch for in Japan. After the 2007 season Kuroda left for Los Angeles.
During his years with the Carp, Kuroda was their best pitcher and one of their most popular players. During many of their losing years, Kuroda shined bright. Kuroda debuted with the Carp in 1996. Kuroda won over 100 games in Japan, led the league in wins, and won an ERA title.
During Kuroda’s final start for the Carp in 2007, fans held red cardboard cut outs of his number 15, and they begged for him to stay. On December 12 of 2007, Kuroda signed with the Dodgers.
Since then Kuroda has been one of the most consistent starting pitchers in recent years. This last year he had his best season, posting a 13-16 record with a 3.07 ERA and 161 strikeouts. Kuroda finished ninth in ERA, and he pitched over 200 innings. Hiroki has overcome a lot over the years. He’s pitched well enough to win 20 games despite recieving virtually zero run production of any kind. He was nearly killed when he was struck in the head by a line drive while pitching in Arizona a couple of years back. Kuroda battled back and returned to win on the same mound the following season. Despite being 37, Kuroda is healthy, and the Dodgers are running out of time to retain him.
If Kuroda does not return then that will leave a huge massive black hole in the starting rotation. How do you replace Kuroda? You can’t. Definitely not with the assorted collection of aging retreads the Dodgers are looking at. Kuroda is the perfect number two starter, slotting right behind 2011 National League Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw and his utter domination. With Kuorda gone, Billingsley must take over the number two spot, and that moves Lilly up as the third starter. There’s a lot of ifs there. If Bills can put together two good halves and if Lilly can continue to find consistency using a new slider grip allowing him to keep the ball in the park.
Lets not waste time by complaining about the signings of Rivera, Mark Ellis, or Adam Kennedy. Kuroda must be brought back. We have no other option. Have the Dodgers started to negotiate with Kuroda? We don’t know. Kuroda made 12 million dollars last season, why can’t the Dodgers at least throw him a 7 or 8 mil contract?
The thought of Kuroda being replaced with the likes of Harang, or Jeff Francis makes me sick to my stomach. Kuroda impressed us all last year by refusing to leave the Dodgers, invoking his no-trade clause, while the Dodgers were mired in last place. Amidst swirling trade rumors, hes said before that he only wants to pitch for the Dodgers, and has shown unbelievable loyalty unseen in this modern era.
I think we’ve all taken Kuroda for granted, as we likely find out once the player is gone. Over the last four seasons, we’ve grown accustomed to seeing Kuroda in the rotation. Hes just always been there. Hiroki is humble and quiet, and just goes about his business of pitching well. Kuroda is known as a ground ball pitcher, with his nasty sinker and splitter. Once he is gone, it’s not going to be a pretty sight folks.
Let’s just get him signed now. Make him an offer. Please. Seriously guys don’t ever complain about Hiroki again, and remember this week when the Dodgers didn’t offer him arbitration when one of those retreads is stinking up the ravine in 2012. Don’t say I didn’t tell you so when Aaron Harang is 4-9 with a 4.91 ERA in June, or when Jeff Francis goes on the DL in May with his obligatory arm tendinitis, which will of coarse mean COC graduate Dana Eveland will follow, or possibly John Ely. Losing will inevitably follow.
As we watch Harang or Eveland or some other bum being pummeled in the fourth inning, we will long for the days of Kuroda. We will long for Kuroda’s consistency and quiet loyalty. If we want to stand a chance in heck of competing in 2012, WE MUST RESIGN HIROKI KURODA. This is extremely important. The clock is ticking. If the Dodgers don’t at least make Kuroda some kind of offer, he will likely take the Carp’s low ball offer and go back to Japan. Just get it done. The rotation without Kuroda will be considerably weaker. The Dodgers need a Hiro guys…..