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The Yankees need Hiroki Kuroda now more than ever

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If the Yankees really don't want to commit to Max Scherzer, the solution to fill out the rotation is obvious.

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

I started off the offseason like most baseball fans, holding a "shopping list" of player's names in my hand and hoping my team would check off the list. Now that we're into mid-December, only one of those names has a check next to them in Chase Headley and I'm sure there are plenty that didn't even want that guy back. Regardless, it's clear that the Yankees have been very deliberate and particular about spending their money, a kind of middle ground between their acting like penniless paupers after 2012 and their managing to spend a fortune without bringing back a certain $240 million during last offseason. They let Brandon McCarthy go to Los Angeles for a pretty reasonable sum and claim to not be in on Max Scherzer, but jumped at the opportunity to sign nomad, vagabond, call-him-what-you-will Chris Capuano for $5 million. So pitching depth is clearly a concern, but the team seems to only be willing to dip their toe into the waters to fix it.

Enter Hiroki Kuroda, who will already go down as one of the better and least appreciated pitchers in recent Yankees history. He has no rings to his name, but his remarkable consistency at an advanced age for pitchers has been incredibly impressive and he threw an awesome sinker in pinstripes before Masahiro Tanaka made it cool. If the Yankees truly want a dependable, short-term solution for their talented and injury-plagued rotation, Kuroda is the absolute perfect pitcher. You're looking at a guy who has pitched nearly as well as James Shields, and who would be looking for a deal about four years shorter.

Kuroda certainly wouldn't be the sexiest or most exciting solution to the Yankees rotation issues, but he's a known quantity and wouldn't cost any of the compensation picks that the franchise brass is suddenly so fond of. There's concerns that at some point a pitcher is too old for even a one-year deal to make sense at the sort of money Kuroda has been paid, but it's still just a season of risk for a pitcher that has, almost inexplicably, shown no signs of falling off. Some might rather plug in some nondescript youngster than see the dusty old Kuroda again, but as a fan I have become very fond of seeing him out there during the trials and tribulations that have befallen this team over the recent years. If there were ever a pitcher that embodied a warm, cozy blanket it would be Hiroki Kuroda.

This all obviously depends on whether or not Kuroda even wants to pitch in the Major Leagues next year, but I think it's important the Yankees be aggressive in their courting of Kuroda. The team has seemed to have taken a very laid back approach to some of their incumbent free agents, not even offering a contract in several cases. Kuroda's decision will obviously be based on his own wishes and whims, but the Yankees need to both make their interest obvious and offer him a fair or even generous offer. Doing something silly like setting a bar of $10 million or waiting for Kuroda's people to suggest a number would be self-defeating. Be as aggressive as possible, because this rotation desperately needs a tentpole without any cracks in it. And if you're not going to go big to provide it, at least go safe.