Friday, December 6, 2013

Kuroda Returns, Granderson Goes Crosstown

The Yankees will have to look for a new hitter for the heart of the order with the departure of Robinson Cano, but they've added back a piece of the starting rotation. Hiroki Kuroda has decided to return for another season at a reported salary of $16MM.

Kuroda was the ace of the Yankees staff in 2013 until he wore out in the final month of the season. Prior to that he was a legitimate contender for the AL Cy Young Award. The right-hander will turn 39 during Spring Training next year and hopes to get more run support than he did this past season. The Yankees averaged 3.2 runs per game when Kuroda started, a major factor in his 11-13 record despite an ERA that was under 3.00 until his final three starts of the season.

Kuroda joins CC Sabathia and Ivan Nova as holdovers from last season's starting staff. The Yankees still hope to sign Kuroda's countryman Masahiro Tanaka as well as a 5th starter either from within the organization (Michael Pineda) or from outside. There's a chance that the Yankees could take a look at free agent Ubaldo Jimenez again, whom the Yankees had interest in early in the off-season.

Outfielder Curtis Granderson will be switching to orange and blue after he agreed to a four-year, $60MM deal with the New York Mets. Granderson was acquired from the Detroit Tigers prior to the 2010 season in a three team deal that sent Austin Jackson and Phil Coke from the Yankees to the Tigers.  The Yankees also sent pitcher Ian Kennedy to Arizona, who sent the AL 2013 Cy Young winner Max Scherzer and Daniel Schlereth to Detroit. The Diamondbacks also received pitcher Edwin Jackson from the Tigers.

Towards the end of a non-productive 2010 campaign, Granderson made adjustments with the the help of hitting coach Kevin Long and it paid off the following year. Granderson reached career highs in OPS (.916) and home runs (43) and led the AL in runs scored (136) and RBI (119). He finished 4th in the AL MVP vote with former teammate Justin Verlander taking home the hardware.

Granderson hit 43 home runs and drove in 106 in 2012, but the rest of his numbers were down, except for strikeouts. The affable Chicago native was limited to 61 games in 2014 after pitches broke a finger and his forearm in two different incidences.

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