The Yankees tried to trade for Hiroki Kuroda at the trade deadline last season, but he evoked his no trade clause and stayed in Los Angeles. Now that he’s a Yankee, he doesn’t want to go anywhere else and has gotten another full no trade clause as part of his contract, according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports.
Why would Kuroda reject a deal to the Yankees one month and then make sure they can’t trade him the next month? He spoke with Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times about that and said that he didn’t want to join a contender midseason, winning that way would have been cheap he said.
Kuroda also said that his preference was to return to the Dodgers this offseason, but once it became clear they weren’t going to offer him a contract he narrowed his options to his former team the Hiroshima Carp and the Yankees even though five or six teams were interested in him. Kuroda, who has never been in the playoffs in America or Japan, ultimately took less money to join the Yankees for the chance to win.
“They have an incredible tradition,” Kuroda said of the Yankees. “They contend for the championship every year. I wanted to play for a team like that. When you get to my age, you don’t know how much longer you can pitch and I wanted to experience that before my career ended.”
In taking less to join the Yankees, he’s shown that he’s not just here for the money. In recent years that has been important to the front office that players actually want to be in the Bronx and it was probably a big reason why they signed him.
Kuroda also said that he thinks that Russell Martin, who was his catcher in Los Angeles, will make his transition to the Yankees easier.