As the elusive veteran pitcher world turns

There was quite a bit of drama for a Friday evening as Kenny Rogers fired Scott Boras. Rogers sent an email to all GM’s (wouldn’t that be a neat distribution list to have?) saying that he was now representing himself. This seems like great news for the Tigers who were hoping to resign Rogers. Kenny sent an email last night to Jason Beck saying that he still hopes to be a Tiger in 2008.

I do expect Rogers to sign by Monday at the latest, but am a little curious why he emailed all the GM’s. (**wild blog speculation ahead**) Perhaps he was just trying to confirm the discussions that Boras had had with various clubs and the various offers that had or hadn’t been made. Maybe Rogers distrusted Boras, or didn’t think he was accurately representing his wishes. Or maybe he’s just trying to understand his market for his own sake. (**end wild blog rumor mongering**) And it probably doesn’t matter. By his own admission Rogers wants to be hear, and the Tigers haven’t shown to be cheap when it comes to players they want.

Regardless, Jon Paul Morosi gives us yet another free agent pitcher name to consider in the form of Hiroki Kuroda. Kuroda is from Japan, but is a free agent so there is no posting fee like the Red Sox incurred with Daisuke Matsuzaka. Kuroda is a 32 year old right hander who stands 6′ 1″

I honestly don’t know much about Kuroda, but did find 2 assessments. One is from MLB Trade Rumors which had this report

One number to remember here: 300, as in 300 feet to left and 300 feet to right. That’s the stadium Kuroda spent 10 years in, and still he managed to post a sub-2.00 ERA in 2006 and go 13-6. What could he do in Petco with 67 extra feet to left to play with? Tak says that at the least, he’s an innings eater.

Meanwhile Baseball Prospectus had him rated as a top tier Japanese free agent and had this to say:

He’s not Daisuke Matsuzaka, but Kuroda a very strong power pitcher with a low to mid-90s fastball and a wicked forkball. In addition, he features a plus shuuto, something like a screwball, as well as an effective change. Even if he only pans out as a third or fourth starter in the majors, he will give you innings, work deep into games, and he should be fairly consistent start to start.

For an asking price of $7-8 million over 3 years he certainly would rate as intriguing at this point.

I still think that the Tigers should look to add someone beyond Rogers and had been thinking of Bartolo Colon or Kerry Wood. A couple of risky guys with some upside who could be had for 1 year deals. Give said pitcher the last spot in the rotation. If it doesn’t work out you haven’t invested a lot and Andrew Miller is still waiting in the wings. It also means that if Miller isn’t ready, or Rogers can’t go a full season (both decent possibilities) it is another layer of depth.


  1. Alan

    November 17, 2007 at 12:49 am

    Haven’t heard much about this japan player but from what you are saying sounds good. I think that the tigers need to lose some loyalty and get some much needed players.

  2. Eric Cioe

    November 17, 2007 at 1:09 am

    If we can get this guy for cheap, let’s do it. Get Kenny and this guy. There is some confusion about what a shuuto is – it breaks like a screwball but not as much. It is faster. Think of it as a cutter from the wrong hand; so for a RHP, it will look something like a LHP’s cutter.

    I’d be interested in this guy. If he struggles starting, it sounds like he could be a strong bullpen arm, which (like starters) you can never have too many of.

  3. David

    November 17, 2007 at 1:45 am

    Yep, hopefully this is a sign that a deal will be had and soon – similar to the Arod situation.

    My guess was that Boras was just pissing everybody off including Rogers and Arod.

    I’ve always wished they dipped into the Japan market – even for Kosuke Fukudome

    I also would like them to go after Wood or a similar guy for cheap, but not Colon.

    And while they do need the depth the more I think about it, if they resign Rogers and give the 5 spot to Bazardo or Miller(who could have really stepped foward like Verlander who knows?) \\I wouldn’t mind seeing Miner given another shot.

    Even though last year his WHIP was higher his ERA was very good and is going to be 26

  4. Mark L

    November 17, 2007 at 1:49 am

    Interesting. Read what Todd Jones recently wrote about Schilling being his own agent, on Yahoo MLB. Unfortunately, the link is not working for me. Sounds like Todd thinks players will get ripped off going that way. But Kenny knows what he wants–one more year with the Tigers, and if Boras pushes him to demand too much, he won’t get that. Good for Kenny to take control of the situation and demand what he wants.

  5. Jim

    November 17, 2007 at 8:33 am

    My guess is it went somthing like this:

    Rogers: I’m 43. I don’t want to deal with this crap anymore. I just want to sign with the Tigers.
    Boras: No, no let’s wait. We can get you more money!
    Rogers: Game over. You’re done, get out.

    I don’t know what kind of scouts we have in Japan, but if we weren’t even mentioned with Fukodome (a left handed OF) I wouldn’t put too much into any other Japanese ballplayers rumors.

  6. Kathy

    November 17, 2007 at 8:59 am

    Just the headline gave me a good laugh to start the day!!!

  7. Tim D

    November 17, 2007 at 2:45 pm

    Kenny sounds impatient in that e-mail and I don’t think he likes the insinuation that his “I will play for Detroit or retire” comments were all for show. A very proud guy who is concerned about his image. Is he the champagne sharing veteran leader or the jerk who broke the video camera? He’s probably just had enough of Boras squeezing the very last nickel out of everything.

    Whatever the Tigers end up paying they need him. Kuroda sounds ok. He’d be cheaper than Wood, Livan or Silva. Colon might cost more as well but you could likely get Bart on a one year make good deal. Wood and Colon have huge injury risks. Silva is to me mediocrity personified. I have always like Livan’s durability but his K rate took an alarming nosedive this year (90 Ks in 200+ IP). I think Kuroda would likely be as good as Silva or Livan, without the upside of Wood or Colon if they were healthy.

    Still want another reliever. And don’t tell me Matt Mantei.

    Is Carl Pavano done? Does old friend DD give him an NRI?

  8. TomC

    November 17, 2007 at 4:17 pm

    Okay Kenny, you want to pitch for the Tigers, you fired Boras, so what’s the holdup. Make your word good. It’s a nobrainer. Or was it a bunch of crap. Where does ballplayer loyalty end. Would he really want to go elsewhere for more money? If so, then his word is no good. Simple!

  9. greg

    November 17, 2007 at 5:53 pm

    I confess that Kenny’s stock has gone up in my book. I love it. Anyone who fires Boras is really gonna have to mess up to get on my bad side. Welcome back Kenny!

  10. ron

    November 18, 2007 at 1:37 am

    Hopefully Rogers enjoys being a Tiger and doesn’t want to be shopped around. Money isn’t everything; especially when you love what you do. This is a step in the right direction for Kenny and A Rod and the fans. Hope the younger players are taking note. No matter how much revenue MLB makes ,the cost to the fan keeps going up,up and up. These players from top to bottom are so overvalued, it’s pathetic. Lets see, Boras asks for 14 mi.. Without Boras Kenny gets 9 mil. Illitch keeps two and passes 3 mil. to the fans by cutting concession prices. Everybody wins and in the long run we get players who are going to play their heart out for our team. This hired gun mentality is nuts. Its gotta get back to where a family of four and a couple of neigborhood friends can go to a game without taking out a loan. There are a lot of blood sucking vampires involved in this game and way too many willing victims.

  11. Joey C.

    November 18, 2007 at 7:14 pm

    Wow. Bad week for Team Boras. I don’t know if anyone read that New Yorker article on Boras that Billfer linked to, but it painted him as a bigger jerk than I already assumed him to be. Perhaps hubris is finally coming back and biting him in the butt.

  12. The Spot Starters

    November 19, 2007 at 11:17 am

    Yeah, I don’t have all the confidence in the world that Rogers can stay healthy the whole season. We really saw are pitching fall apart during the second half of the season. I think a low cost risk could be in order, someone like Colon maybe. I think that Wood is a bullpen arm from here on out, not to say we couldn’t go after him, he’s just no longer a starter.

  13. Mike R

    November 19, 2007 at 3:12 pm

    If we can get this guy for cheap, let’s do it. Get Kenny and this guy. There is some confusion about what a shuuto is – it breaks like a screwball but not as much. It is faster. Think of it as a cutter from the wrong hand; so for a RHP, it will look something like a LHP’s cutter.

    I’d be interested in this guy. If he struggles starting, it sounds like he could be a strong bullpen arm, which (like starters) you can never have too many of.

    So like a 2-seam fastball with less sink, essentially.

    And I’m fine for bringing back Kenny at 1 year, $7-7.5 Million and then going after Hiroki Kuroda. That asking price for him, given this market, isn’t all too bad.

  14. Mark in Chicago

    November 19, 2007 at 6:18 pm

    This Kuroda character is kind of intriguing, he posted some very good numbers in a ridiculous hitters park. Of course, we never know how it’s going to translate to the majors, but it’s worth a look, no?

    From what I’ve read, Seattle is at the head of this race. They already have the investment in Japanese players, and I would gather the Yankees will attempt to overpay as well, as they are obviuosly desperate for starting pitching. Still, it would be nice to see DD take a run at him, he’s never seemed to be afraid of thinking outside the box (who saw the Sean Casey trade coming?).

    Spot Starters, you mentioned Kerry Wood. I would totally take him on my team any day, just don’t count on him (even moreso than Kenny Rogers). Great makeup, but with those mechanics, he won’t be able to last a full year regardless of his role. Unless he gets a chance to start somewhere (Rangers/Astros, for example) I think he prolly goes back to the Cubs disabled list.