Monday, November 19, 2007

Kuroda Seeks $11 Million?

Various sources are reporting that the Mariners are planning on sending Bill Bavasi to Tokyo to negotiate with free agent starting pitcher Hiroki Kuroda. Great, right? Wrong. According to Mariners insider Larry LaRue, Kuroda is reportedly seeking a 3-4 year deal worth $11 million per. To make matters worse, Bavasi could find himself in a bidding war with teams such as the Rangers, Mets, Dodgers, Cubs, Phillies, Royals and Tigers.

I don't know why GMs continue to put so much money into Japanese starting pitchers. When was the last time a team landed an ace out of Japan? Nomo? Matsuzaka is the closest thing lately and he certainly isn't there yet. If you're going to put your money into Japanese pitching, sign relievers! There is no shortage of dominant Japanese relievers in Major League Baseball.

Japan is where struggling, out of option MLB players go to find their game, and where home runs are simply the result of little league sized fields. You have to look at it like this, Japanese league baseball is the hidden level between AAA and the Major Leagues, an advanced AAA or 4A, if you will. In the Major Leagues, a young minor league pitcher comes up and if he's a starter he will probably get smacked around for a while, while a reliever may find his stride quicker. You cannot ever assume a Japanese starter will succeed in the Majors, as there is more failures than success stories.

$11 million may be too much to gamble with, even in this thin market. It just seems like too much money, especially considering everyone expected Kuroda to get about $5-8 million per. At least if you gamble $10-11 million on Bartolo Colon or $12 million on Carlos Silva you know what you might get. Hopefully Bavasi can sign him before the bidding war starts, keeping the price down to $9 million or so. HI-KUR

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