Saturday, November 17, 2012

Time Is Of The Essence With The Rotation

The latest in the Hiroki Kuroda sweepstakes is making the rounds on the blogosphere today, a report that Kuroda now prefers to play back in California to be closer to his children.  If that's true, then it takes the Yankees out of the driver's seat in the race to sign Kuroda, but like some of the previous reports on Hiroki this offseason the story cites friends close to him, hence my hesitancy to link to it.

Mike Axisa of RAB posted his quick take on these developments earlier today, and I agree with Mike on both of the key points.  One, the citing of anonymous friends brings into question the validity of the claim and it sounds more like Kuroda and his agent playing all angles to drive up his price for the teams interested.  If that's what they're doing, good for them.  Coming off the season he had, I'd be doing the exact same thing and that still puts the Yankees in the best position to land him.

Second, and more importantly, was Mike's statement that whatever the truth is, it's to the Yankees' benefit to have the Kuroda deal put to bed quickly one way or the other.  My list of free agent pitching targets didn't include many starters, for the simple reason that it's almost certain the Yankees aren't going to get involved in the bidding for guys like Zack Greinke and Anibal Sanchez, and they've already lost one potential 1-year backup option this week in Scott Baker.  If, that's IF, they lose out on Kuroda, they're going to have to scramble to find another starter willing to take a 1-year deal to build enough depth.  He's the key to their offseason rotation rebuilding, and the quicker they get that resolved the quicker they can move on to finishing the process and audibling if they need to.

Jeter Already Uncertain For Opening Day 2013

(Ouch, bro.  Very ouch.  Courtesy of the AP)

The news wasn't surprising, given the fact that the estimated recovery time from his surgery was going to put him right up against the start of the regular season at the latest, but that doesn't make Joe Girardi's comments about Derek Jeter possibly missing the start of the 2013 season any better.  Dan Martin of The Post had the story yesterday, with Joe saying:

“He’s still basically non-weight-bearing, I believe, so, I really believe it might be a little push,”

when asked about Jeter's status.  Jeter is still just a few weeks removed from surgery to repair his broken ankle, and while it's still very early in the recovery process, if there are already doubts about Jeter's availability for Spring Training and the season opener then it might be time for the Yankees to start putting together their contingency plan.  As I discussed weeks back, Jeter being out would impact more than just the shortstop position and create added stress on what is already a somewhat inflexible roster.