Yankees, Hiroki Kuroda agree to one-year, $10 million deal

40 Comments

The Yankees are set to acquire right-hander Michael Pineda from the Mariners in a four-player deal, but they aren’t done improving their rotation. Jack Curry of YES Network reports that they have agreed to terms with Hiroki Kuroda on a one-year deal worth between $10-11 million, pending a physical. ESPN’s Buster Olney reports that it’s for $10 million.

Kuroda, who turns 37 in February, earned $12 million last season while posting a 3.07 ERA and 161/49 K/BB ratio over 202 innings. He has a 3.45 ERA since coming over to the United States four years ago.

The Yankees tried to acquire Kuroda at the deadline last year, but he wasn’t willing to waive his no-trade clause. The common line of thinking after the season was that the veteran right-hander would either pitch in Los Angeles or return to his native Japan to pitch for the Hiroshima Carp, but he changed his stance after the Dodgers added Chris Capuano and Aaron Harang earlier this winter.

In less than an hour, the Yankees rotation has improved by leaps and bounds. They are now projected to have CC Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda, Michael Pineda, Ivan Nova and likely a three-way battle between A.J. Burnett, Phil Hughes and Freddy Garcia for fifth spot. Burnett is still owed $33 million over the next two seasons, so he would presumably have the upper hand. The depth is nice to have, but it will be interesting to see whether the Yankees use Hughes as a chip for a hitter if they are underwhelmed by some of the DH-types remaining on the free agent market.

José Ramirez’s 17-pitch at-bat kickstarts Indians’ five-run comeback in ninth inning

Patrick McDermott/Getty Images
1 Comment

With his team trailing 8-3 to begin the bottom of the ninth inning of Sunday’s game against the Astros, Indians third baseman José Ramirez eventually won a 17-pitch at-bat against closer Ken Giles, ripping a double off of the wall in right field. The Indians would go on to score five runs on seven hits to tie the game against Giles and Hector Rondon. Ramirez almost won the game in his second at-bat of the ninth inning, but first basebamn Yuli Gurriel made a terrific diving catch on a line drive otherwise headed for the right field corner.

Giants first baseman Brandon Belt set a new modern record for the longest at-bat last month, seeing 21 pitches against the Angels’ Jaime Barria. The Astros’ Ricky Gutierrez sfaw 20 pitches from the Indians’ Bartolo Colon on June 26, 1998, which was the previous record. Kevin Bass saw 19 pitches from the Phillies’ Steve Bedrosian in 1988. There have also been five 18-pitch at-bats from Brian Downing, Bip Roberts, Alex Cora, Adam Kennedy, and Marcus Semien.

Sunday’s game wound up going 14 innings. The Astros pulled ahead 9-8 in the top of the 13th on a solo home run from Evan Gattis. However, the Indians’ Yonder Alonso responded with a solo shot of his own in the bottom of the 13th to re-knot the game at 9-9. Greg Allen then lifted a walk-off solo homer in the bottom of the 14th to give the Indians a 10-9 win.

After Sunday’s effort, Ramirez is batting .292/.389/.605 with 15 home runs, 37 RBI, 34 runs scored, and seven stolen bases. According to FanGraphs, his 3.5 Wins Above Replacement ranks third across baseball behind Mike Trout (4.4) and Mookie Betts (4.1). They’re the only players at three wins or above.