The Yankees have been waiting on Hiroki Kuroda for months now. It has long been believed that he will either play in Japan, retire from baseball, or return to the Yankees. After he rejected a $14.1 million qualifying offer, contact between the two sides have been limited, but the Yankees have finally broken the silence by extending another contract to Hiroki Kuroda. While the exact number of the one-year deal is unknown, he made $15 million in 2013, so his final salary will likely fall somewhere between $15-$16 million.
Now that New York has signed its new catcher, it's time for them to start putting together the starting rotation. At the moment, only CC Sabathia and Ivan Nova are projected to be a part of the 2014 rotation, with Andy Pettitte retiring and Phil Hughes signing with the Twins. If the Yankees can lock Kuroda down, it will go a long way toward creating a competitive pitching staff. On the other hand, Kuroda seemed to fade (or struggle) in the second half of the season, and now it will be a question of whether or not he can pitch a full season at the age of 39 years old.
While they have their heart set on Japanese phenom Masahiro Tanaka, a new posting system has yet to be approved and even then it isn't a guarantee they'll win the exclusive negotiating rights to sign him. Kuroda will not only help ease the blow in case they miss out, but he could also help Tanaka make the adjustment of living in America much easier.