NEW YORK (Reuters) - The New York Yankees face a number of questions about their roster this offseason but removed some of the doubt about their rotation by signing pitcher Hiroki Kuroda to a one-year contract, the American League team said on Tuesday.
Kuroda, 37, went 16-11 with a 3.32 earned run average in his debut season in New York after signing as a free agent following four seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
“I am very happy and excited to re-sign with the Yankees,” said Kuroda in a statement.
”I am very grateful for all of the interest and all of the offers that I received from the various teams that courted me.
“It was a tough decision for me to make, but at the end of the day, I wanted to try to win a championship with the team mates that I went to battle with last season.”
Terms of the deal were not announced, but ESPN reported it was worth about $15 million.
The Yankees must decide whether or not to bring back a number of players for next season including outfielders Nick Swisher and Ichiro Suzuki, and catcher Russell Martin.
Signing Japanese right-hander Kuroda enabled the Yankees to slot into their rotation one of their most reliable starters from last season’s AL East championship squad.
Kuroda had career bests in wins, starts (33), innings pitched (219.2) and strikeouts (167). Among AL pitchers, he ranked fourth in innings, tied for sixth in wins and finished eighth in ERA.
After a mediocre start to the season, when he posted a 3-6 record and 4.56 ERA in his first nine starts, he went 13-5 with a 2.92 ERA over his final 24 starts.
Among all Japanese-born pitchers to play in Major League Baseball, Kuroda’s 3.42 career ERA is the lowest all-time among pitchers who have made 20-or-more career starts or pitched at least 350 innings.
His 57 wins and 690 strikeouts trail only Hideo Nomo’s career totals of 123 wins and 1,918 strikeouts.
Kuroda spent 11 seasons (1997-2007) pitching for the Hiroshima Toyo Carp of the Japanese Central League. In 271 appearances (244 starts) for the Carp, he went 103-89 with a 3.69 ERA.
Reporting by Larry Fine, Editing by Peter Rutherford