Hiroki Kuroda free agency: Yankees growing confident SP will return

Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Kuroda would likely be looking for a one-year deal if he comes back as he has publicly stated he wants to pitch in Japan again before retirement.

The Yankees are growing more confident that starting pitcher Hiroki Kuroda will play one more season in the MLB, reports Joel Sherman of the New York Post.

At the outset of the offseason, the team was less-than-optimistic that Kuroda would choose to return. He has made it public that he would like to go back to Japan to pitch before he officially retires from baseball. The 38-year-old is nearing the end of his playing days and could choose to call it quits any year now.

As the offseason has rolled on, New York now feels they have a better chance to re-sign their top pitcher from 2013. Kuroda made 32 starts for the team last season, posting a 3.31 ERA and 1.16 WHIP.

If Kuroda does choose to continue playing in the MLB, the Yankees are certainly the most likely to sign him. He turned down a qualifying offer from the team, meaning anyone else would be required to forfeit a draft pick if they were to agree to a contract with Kuroda. New York has already shown a willingness to spend this offseason, and their rotation needs help. The Yankees are also expected to bid heavily on Japanese ace Masahiro Tanaka when a new posting agreement is made.

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