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.
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