MLB News: Hiroki Kuroda Returning To NPB In Japan

Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports
Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

Since taking over the Los Angeles Dodgers’ front office, president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman has maintained a handful of principles throughout the team’s flurry of activity.

Among them has been Friedman’s refusal to place any set rules on what the Dodgers may or may not do, who they will or won’t trade, and who they may pursue in free agency. As a result of the open-minded philosophy, the Dodgers have been tied to several players in varying reports of interest.

Prior to addressing their pitching need with Brandon McCarthy and the pending signing of Brett Anderson, Dodgers general manager Farhan Zaidi said Hiroki Kuroda would be someone the team would discuss signing if the right-hander was to remain in the United States.

That won’t be the case however, as according to Daisuke Sugiura, Kuroda will return to Japan (Nippon Pro Baseball) next season:

Whether or not the Dodgers would’ve pursued Kuroda at this stage in the offseason is debatable. Though given natural attrition, adding carrying extra starting pitchers is suggested. That particularly holds true for the Dodgers next season as Anderson and McCarthy have a history of injury concerns.

That being said, it’s plausible Kuroda based his decision to return to Japan due to a lack of attractive options. Kuroda spent seven seasons in the Majors — four with the Dodgers before moving on to the New York Yankees.

If 2014 was indeed Kuroda’s final season in MLB, he finishes his career 79-79 with a 3.45 ERA and 1.17 WHIP — with his splits in Los Angeles (41-46, 3.45 ERA) and New York (38-33, 3.44 ERA) nearly identical. Further evidence of how balanced of a pitcher Kuroda was in his career are his nearly identical WHIP averages in both Leagues — 1.19 in the National League and 1.16 in the American League.

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