Hiroki Kuroda’s near no-hitter last night — the only hit he allowed came with one out in the eighth inning — might not have happened, at least if the Padres had their way. San Diego claimed the pitcher off waivers, according to Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune:â†µ
The Dodgers placed Kuroda on waivers last week and were negotiating a waiver trade with the Padres when they decided to recall him from waivers.â†µ
This would have been different than the Manny Ramirez waiver claim in that it wouldn’t have been just to save money, although the cost savings wouldn’t have been insignificant. Kuroda’s base salary this season is $13 million, so the Dodgers could have saved up to $2.5 million by dealing Kuroda. However, Kuroda would have likely fetched a prospect or two in return as well.â†µ
If the Dodgers want to re-sign Kuroda, dealing him into a pennant race would not preclude that. They can simply offer him money if they want to bring him back.â†µ
The Dodgers decided to keep Kuroda for one of two reasons. Either they thing they are still in the race (hint: they’re not), or they think the return for Kuroda wasn’t more than they will receive this offseason. Over at MLB Trade Rumors, Tim Dierkes projects Kuroda to be a Type B free agent, which would fetch a supplemental pick in the 2011 draft between the first and second rounds should Kuroda sign elsewhere.â†µ
That is, if the Dodgers offer arbitration to Kuroda. The Dodgers might not offer arbitration, for fear he would accept and bind the club to a one-year contract somewhere a little too close to his $13 million 2010 salary. The deadline to offer arbitration to free agents is December 1. On that date, we will find out if keeping Kuroda was a move Ned Colletti made with his head, or with his heart.