A few days ago I posted an article about one of the true prizes available in this year’s meager offseason crapshoot – a highly-touted Japanese pitcher that Seibu is “posting” by the name of Daisuke Matsuzaka. He is probably the best pitcher to ever come out of the Orient and he will be very expensive. He is also young and will likely be an impact pitcher for years to come. Estimates are that Matsuzaka will cost somebody a $20-30 million posting fee PLUS the multi-million dollar salary that agent Scott Boras will negotiate.
There is another quality Japanese pitcher that will be available this year and reportedly the Cubs are interested. That pitcher is the Hiroshima Carp’s Hiroki Kuroda, who has reached free agent eligibility and thusly will be much cheaper than his Seibu counterpart. Kuroda is known by the nickname of “Mr. Complete Game” and his career Japanese stats are posted to the right. Kuroda throws a mid-nineties fastball, a split finger (pictured above) and a “shuuto,” which is basically that crazy pitch that Maddux throws that tails in and down to right handed batters.
Reportedly Kuroda is a hardcore competitor but allegedly he throws too many fastballs. Given the lack of quality free agent pitchers in this year’s market he deserves close consideration by the Cubs; our usual assortment of Wounded Wing pitchers will not get us a .500 record let alone a division championship.