Saturday, December 1, 2007

Hotstove: Kuroda to Sign?

Japanese free agent starting pitcher and Seattle target Hiroki Kuroda declared his intention to play in the major leagues in 2008 earlier today. This was obviously expected, but the timing is cause for speculation. This comes just a day or two after the Mariners left a "strong" 4 year offer on the table (rumored to be worth $40-45M). The Mariners were already the clear cut favorite for Kuroda's services, but now that they've upped their offer it seems Kuroda is destined wear blue and teal next season. I will be very surprised if he ends up as a Dodger or Diamondback, although he has expressed the desire to play in a warmer climate. The Diamondbacks reportedly offered 3 years/$27M.

Kuroda's decision was originally expected on the 29th, so I'd expect this to be resolved before the Winter Meetings. I'm sure Bavasi is pushing for that, as he'd like to know what he needs to get in Nashville.

Other news around the Hot Stove:

The Mariners reportedly have interest in former Colorado reliever Jeremy Affeldt as a starter. Though I had Affeldt as my number five reliever available this offseason, I strongly recommend against signing him for the back end of the rotation. Affeldt has had no success in the major leagues as a starter, and his success last year came over just 59 innings pitched.... If Bavasi has already lost faith in Jose Lopez, the Mariners could sign Tadahito Iguchi, Marcus Giles or David Eckstein. I've already posted my opinion on Iguchi. I think David Eckstein would be an interesting signing, because he would be a spark in our lineup to go along with Ichiro, although he'd be an expensive option as there's other teams that covet his services more. Marcus Giles put up some fantastic seasons with the Atlanta Braves but struggled mightily as a Padre in 2007. Giles is also very intriguing because he could be signed to a minor league contract and compete with Lopez and Chen for the starting job. If he really could be signed on the minor league level I'd be all for it. Ray Durham of the Giants is another option, but that trade would be more about dumping contracts (Sexson would go to SF). Durham is old, washed up and overpaid. Please, no.... The Red Sox have agreed on a contract with Mike Timlin. I had Timlin as one of my top five veteran relievers the Mariners might sign, but I can cross him off now to go along with David Riske and Troy Percival.... Aribitration's deadline is later tonight, and the Mariners need to make a decision on free agent Jose Guillen. There is a good chance that they will offer arbitration, and a very small chance he will accept. I've read conflicting reports on whether or not Guillen is a type-B free agent, and can't find anything concrete. If he is, the Mariners can recieve a draft pick if he declines the Mariners' offer..... ESPN again confirms that the Mariners are in the hunt or Johan Santana, despite the fact that the Yankees appear to be closing in. This is a good sign, as this probably means Bavasi is being aggressive. HI-KUR

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