UPDATE: Dodgers close to re-signing Hiroki Kuroda

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UPDATE: Buster Olney of ESPN.com also hears that the Dodgers are close to keeping Kuroda for one year at $12 million.

12:27 AM: Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker originally stated that 1 billon yen works out to $8 million, which looked like an awesome deal for the Dodgers. Turns out the exchange rate was incorrect.

It’s actually $12 million, which makes far more sense, given that Kuroda made $13 million this past season.

Don’t get all over Newman for this error, though. He’s truly one of the best around. If you must, direct your anger towards baseball writers like myself who are too lazy to double-check exchange rates.

10:46 PM: For what it’s worth, a Dodgers’ source told Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com that the Sanspo report is “inaccurate.” When asked if a deal was close, the source said “hard to tell.”

Another Hot Stove rumor squashed? Stay tuned.

8:56 PM: Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker passes along a report from Sanspo that Hiroki Kuroda is close to staying with the Dodgers on a one-year contract for approximately $8 million. We went over Kuroda’s impressive stats from this past season a bit earlier, so if true, this would be a tremendous bargain for the Dodgers.

6:06 PM: Big, but not entirely surprising news on the free agent front. Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times passes along a report from Japanese sports daily Sports Nippon that Hiroki Kuroda plans to pitch in the majors for another year.

Kuroda, who turns 36 in February, was reportedly considering a return to Japan after finishing his three-year, $35.3 million contract with the Dodgers, but it makes plenty of sense (and dollars) to stick around. The right-hander went 11-13 with a 3.39 ERA and 158 /48 K/BB ratio over 31 starts this past season, his most successful since arriving stateside in 2008. Our own Matthew Pouliot has him ranked as the No. 10 free agent this winter.

According to Hernandez, the Nippon report states that Kuroda would prefer to stay with the Dodgers, but it’s not known if they will be able to afford him. Remember, they already re-signed veteran left-hander Ted Lilly to a three-year, $33 million contract. I’m skeptical that Kuroda will actually pass up another multi-year contract at this point in his career, but if he truly intends to pitch in the United States for only one more season, it will add a pretty interesting dynamic to his list of potential suitors. If anything, it should only increase the number of teams in the mix.

Dave Roberts: It “doesn’t make sense” for Scott Kazmir to start year in Dodgers’ rotation

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Scott Kazmir won’t begin the regular season in the Dodgers’ starting rotation. Manager Dave Roberts said after Kazmir’s Cactus League outing on Sunday that it “doesn’t make sense” for the ailing Kazmir to break camp in the rotation, Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times reports. The lefty will instead rehab some more and join the rotation at a later time.

Kazmir has been battling a hip issue which has caused his mechanics to suffer. He was clocked in the low 80’s 10 days ago and wasn’t much better on Sunday afternoon.

Last season with the Dodgers, Kazmir posted a 4.56 ERA with a 134/52 K/BB ratio in 136 1/3 innings, his worst numbers since returning to the majors in 2013.

Robert Gsellman wins spot in Mets’ rotation

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Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that Robert Gsellman has won the No. 4 spot in the Mets’ starting rotation. He adds that the Mets are likely to play things cautiously with lefty Steven Matz. The fifth and final rotation spot will go to either Zack Wheeler or Seth Lugo.

Gsellman, 23, has had a great spring. The right-hander has allowed three earned runs on 15 hits and four walks with nine strikeouts in 17 1/3 innings. That is on the heels of seven solid starts at the end of the 2016 season during which he yielded 12 earned runs on 40 hits and 12 walks with 40 strikeouts in 41 innings.

Matz, 25, is dealing with irritation in his left elbow. He had surgery in October to remove a bone spur and was a Tommy John patient several years ago. It sounds like the Mets are leaning towards having him start the season on the disabled list.

Wheeler, 26, isn’t having a great spring. He’s surrendered seven runs in 7 1/3 innings. Lugo has given up three earned runs in seven spring innings and also looked solid in the World Baseball Classic although he took the loss in the final against the United States.