Saturday, December 15, 2007

It's official - Kuroda is a Dodger

After a battle involving the Royals, Diamondbacks, and Mariners, the Dodgers were the ones who came out on top in the Hiroki Kuroda sweepstakes. The final tally is 3 years/$36.2 million. My quick math skills tells me that's slightly over $12 million per year. Not exactly a cheap deal, but it may be better than getting rid of guys like Matt Kemp, Clayton Kershaw, or Andy LaRoche just to get a quality starter.

Ever since a few days ago, it looked as if the Dodgers were in the lead on this one, and that was accurate. I discussed his achievements in a previous posts, but long story short, he's capable of pitching deep into games. Of course, this is America, where complete games are slim and none, so who knows what that will mean from this point forward. That last Japanese pitcher the Dodgers brought in, Takashi Saito, has worked magnificently, so let's hope lightning strikes twice.

Here's how the starting rotation shapes up now with last year's numbers (and I'm guessing on the positioning):
RH - Brad Penny (16-4, 3.03 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 135 K)
RH - Derek Lowe (12-14, 3.88, 1.27, 147)
RH - Hiroki Kuroda (with Japan, 12-8, 3.85)
RH - Chad Billingsley (12-5, 3.31, 1.33, 141)
RH - Jason Schmidt (1-4, 6.31, 1.79, 22)

Man, that almost makes me sick looking at Schmidt's numbers. Absolutely pathetic. Anyway, even though the rotation is all righties, it's still pretty good. I think Penny should be talked about as an ace now considering he's been an All-Star 2 straight years and was 3rd in the Cy Young voting this past year. Lowe isn't fantastic, but is still a solid starter. Billingsley is a young pitcher on the rise, if he can only learn to stop walking so damn many guys. Schmidt is a wild card probably for the rest of his career solely on health. Kuroda can slide right in there and be a difference maker.

As has been pointed out by many people, the Dodgers got the power bat and quality starter without trading anyone. But, the downside is that Andruw Jones had a bad year in his standards last year and Kuroda has yet to throw one pitch in the majors. So, time will tell how this will all work out. They are both still good signings in my mind just because of what they are capable of doing.

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