When I heard Hiroki Kuroda had been signed to a one year, ten million dollar contract by the New York Yankees, the first thing I thought was "That old guy from the Dodgers? Why?".
However, I now realize my initial thinking of Kuroda was wrong. Here's why:
1) Rotation Flexibility. Prior to signing Kuroda, the Yankees' most likely starting pitchers were C.C., Michael Pineda, Ivan Nova, and two of the following three: A.J. Burnett, Freddy Garcia, and Phil Hughes. Not too impressive. C.C. and Pineda are solid, but I am still not convinced Nova will be as dependable as he was last season. I would like to see Nova play an entire season and be a regular in the rotation before I make conclusions.
Now, with Kuroda, the Yankees will most likely start C.C., Pineda, Kuroda, Nova, and then either Burnett, Garcia, or Hughes. Can you say depth?
2) Playoff depth. In the postseason, having three or four solid pitchers is important. Signing Kuroda allows Girardi, depending on how the rotation's regular season success, to choose whether he wants to use a three man or four man rotation.
3) Postseason experience. Though Kuroda has only pitched in three postseason games (1-2 record in those games), having pitched in the playoffs is always important for if you play for the Yankees.
4) Expendibility. When a team signs a 36 year old pitcher (37 when the season begins) to a one year deal, both parties are not exactly expecting a long term solution. In all likelihood, if Kuroda is unhappy in New York, the Yankees will not regret his signing because he is very tradeable (with only a one year deal) and also brings a veteran presence.
Though I am not expecting anything special from Kuroda (moving from the pitcher-friendly N.L. West to the home run-happy A.L. East is never easy), I, like any Yankee fan, hopes he provides the depth and stability needed to lead the Yankees to a 28th World Championship.