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Yankees optimistic about re-signing Hiroki Kuroda

Al Bello

The Yankees have now signed a new catcher in Brian McCann and a new center fielder in Jacoby Ellsbury, but they have yet to focus on pitching. Hiroki Kuroda has remained their chief target this offseason, but no one knows what his plans are. After declining a $14.1 million qualifying offer, the Yankees offered him a contract believed to be between $15-$16 million as a way of convincing him to come back to American baseball for at least one more year.

Brian Cashman now believes that Kuroda wants to pitch in 2014, it's now a matter of if he wants to play for the Yankees or return to Japan. The 38-year-old pitcher is committed to the Yankees, so Cashman is confident they can bring him back, if that's what he wants to do.

Bringing Kuroda back would make him the number two pitcher behind CC Sabathia in a rotation that currently only included Ivan Nova as well. If the Yankees are unable to get Masahiro Tanaka, whether because they loses the bid or he isn't posted, there will still be two rotation spots that need filling. The options on the market seem to be less than thrilling and could be highly expensive, so it might lead them to allowing David Phelps, Adam Warren, Vidal Nuno, Michael Pineda, and others, compete for the last two spots if they can't find someone that makes sense for them. Those options don't sound promising, so they might go for a trade in order to fill at least one more spot.