Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman says he would like to bring pitcher Hiroki Kuroda back for the 2014 season, reports the Star-Ledger. Kuroda is set to become a free agent following the conclusion of the 2013 season.
"Of course we’d love to have him back, but I don’t know what’s going to happen," Cashman said at a Tuesday press conference. "Obviously he was our ace this year and regardless, we were really happy we were able to acquire him and hope that we can maintain a relationship with him as a player on this roster next year."
Kuroda, 38, has started 65 games for the Yankees the past two seasons, posting a 3.31 ERA and 1.16 WHIP. Through six seasons in the MLB spent with the Yankees and Dodgers, Kuroda has yet to finish with an ERA above 3.76. Kuroda was paid $15 million for his efforts in 2013.
The Yankees have a slew of free agents this offseason, including Kuroda, second baseman Robinson Cano, and outfielder Curtis Granderson. Between free agent eligible players and retirements, the Yankees currently have around $90 million in player salaries on the books for 2014, though Derek Jeter's $8 million player option will certainly be picked up.
Though New York has a lot of holes to fill, they could likely make it work if they wish to bring back Kuroda. It would not take a long-term deal to lock him up due to his age. Rather, Kuroda would likely sign a two- to three-year contract at a similar annual value to his most recent deal.
Kuroda could also choose to retire. When asked if he would continue to pitch after 2013, Kuroda declined to comment.
if Kuroda does not remain on the team, the Yankees will have just Ivan Nova and CC Sabathia locked into their starting rotation for 2013. Andy Pettitte has chosen to retire and Phil Hughes will also be a free agent. David Phelps could fill one spot if the team chooses to make him a full-time starter.