Hiroki Kuroda Returns To Dodgers With One-Year, $12 Million Deal

Kuroda went 11-13 with a 3.39 ERA in 2010.

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Hiroki Kuroda's Contract Continues Dodgers Tradition Of Backloading & Deferrals

Now that Hiroki Kuroda has returned to the Dodgers on a one-year contract, the club have a pretty formidable starting rotation. The Dodgers have pre-free agency pitchers Clayton Kershaw and Chad Billingsley leading the pack, followed by Kuroda and Ted Lilly, who also re-signed with the Dodgers this offseason. However, the contracts for both Kuroda and Lilly continue a recent Dodger trend of backloading the money.

Kuroda's $12 million contract calls for an $8 million salary in 2011, and a $4 million signing bonus to be spread out over 2012-2013. Paying players who are no longer around is nothing new for the Dodgers. On the 2011 payroll alone, the Dodgers are paying five players no longer on the team:

Dodgers Dead Money In 2011
Player Salary   Comment
Manny Ramirez $7,677,596   nearly $20 million deferred through 2013
Juan Pierre $3,500,000   paid $10.5m of $18.5m in last year's trade to Chicago
Andruw Jones $3,375,000   ate $22 million to make him go away in 2009; paying through 2014
Jason Schmidt $1,500,000   final portion of deferred signing bonus of failed $47 million deal
Vicente Padilla      $1,000,000   deferred signing bonus from last year's one-year, $5 million deal
Totals $17,052,596   doesn't include option buyouts for Brad Ausmus or Octavio Dotel

That's $17 million paid next year to players no longer here. That's why the Dodgers have to get creative with these contracts. In addition to Kuroda, the Dodgers are paying Lilly only $7.5 million in 2011, the first year of his three-year, $33 million contract.

Deferring money isn't always a bad thing. After all, the time value of money dictates that it is almost always better to pay money later rather than sooner. But, that is assuming all the money is there in the first place. Right or wrong, with Frank McCourt and the Dodgers, there always seems to be doubt about that liquidity.

For more Dodgers news and analysis, be sure to read the SB Nation blog True Blue LA.

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Dodgers Sign Hiroki Kuroda To One Year, $12 Million Contract

Hiroki Kuroda has agreed on a one-year contract to return to the Los Angeles Dodgers, the club announced today. Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times reported the deal to be worth $12 million, which was expected after reports of the potential signing leaked this weekend. Kuroda, who turns 36 on February 10, was 11-13 with a 3.39 ERA last season, setting a career high with 159 strikeouts. In three seasons with the Dodgers, Kuroda is 28-30 with a 3.60 ERA, and a 111 ERA+.

Kuroda will be paid $8 million in 2011, and has a $4 million signing bonus that will be spread over 2012-2013, per Jayson Stark of ESPN. In addition, Kuroda has a full no-trade clause, and can earn up to $500,000 in incentive bonuses, according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports. “As we continue our commitment to winning, Hiroki Kuroda will play a significant role in our rotation, which is a very important part of our club,” said Dodger General Manager Ned Colletti. “He has had success in the regular season as well as the postseason and we look forward to having him back in a Dodger uniform in 2011. With four starters returning from last year, we feel very good about our rotation and we will continue to look for ways to improve the staff.”

The return of Kuroda gives the Dodgers four established pitchers in their starting rotation. Kuroda joins Clayton Kershaw, Chad Billingsley, and Ted Lilly, who signed a three-year, $33 million deal last month. While the Dodger pitching staff appears close to intact -- they will likely sign another starter and possibly a reliever or two -- the main problem to improve is the offense.

After the All-Star break last season, the Dodgers scored a paltry 3.3 runs per game, which was the main reason the Dodgers fell from two games out of first place at the break to 31-43 in the de facto second half, finishing 80-82 and 11 games out of a postseason berth. The Dodger payroll is estimated to be roughly $102 million, even before the Dodgers add a bat, as they are expected to do this winter. They have a hole in left field, and potential non-tender candidates at catcher, first base, and second base.

Signing Kuroda brings the total number of players on the Dodgers' 40-man roster to 35.

For more Dodgers news and analysis, be sure to read the SB Nation blog True Blue LA.

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Report: Hiroki Kuroda On Verge Of Returning To Dodgers

Free agent starting pitcher Hiroki Kuroda appears on the verge of returning to the Dodgers, according to a report from Sanspo.com. According to the report, Kuroda prefers a one-year contract, and will likely sign for about 10 billion yen, which is roughly $12 million. There were reports earlier in the night which reported the deal at $8 million, but it appears that was simply a miscalculation of Japanese yen to dollars.

Ken Gurnick of MLB.com noted that the Dodgers would not comment on the report, and Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports got word from a Dodger source that it was "hard to tell" whether or not Kuroda and the Dodgers were close to a deal.

Kuroda had his best season in the major leagues in 2010, finishing 11-13 with a 3.39 ERA in a career-high 196 1/3 innings. Kuroda, who completed a three-year contract for $35.3 million this season, also had a career high with 159 strikeouts. Kuroda will turn 36 on February 10.

The Dodgers have made pitching a priority this offseason. They re-signed Ted Lilly to a three-year contract last month, and if Kuroda returns the club would have a solid front four of Clayton Kershaw, Chad Billingsley, Lilly, and Kuroda.

For more Dodgers news and analysis, be sure to read the SB Nation blog True Blue LA.

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