Yankees renew interest in Hiroki Kuroda

Hiroki Kuroda is 41-46 with a 3.45 ERA Hiroki Kuroda is 41-46 with a 3.45 ERA in four seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Photo Credit: AP

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DALLAS -- Brian Cashman hasn't liked much of what he's heard from opposing general managers recently.

"It's, hey, take my older, expensive, over-the-hill guy for your young, better-performing guy," the Yankees general manager said with a smile late Monday afternoon after arriving here, much later than most of his brethren, for the winter meetings. "I'm like, let me think about that and get back to you, buddy."

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But he acknowledged later: "I'm sure my ideas are just as distasteful [to them] as the ones I've received."

It is a season of bargains for much of the nation's shoppers, but not in baseball, where prices for what Cashman most desires -- starting pitching depth -- remain, for him, prohibitively high.

Top free agents C.J. Wilson and Mark Buehrle interest the Yankees, but not at the current cost. They also are interested in possible trades for starters John Danks of the White Sox, Matt Garza of the Cubs and Jair Jurrjens of the Braves, but again, what those teams want is more than Cashman is willing to give.

One report Monday said the White Sox asked for both Jesus Montero and Manny Banuelos for Danks. Cashman is unlikely to include either one, let alone both, in deals involving good but not great pitchers.

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"Right now I have no reason to believe, as I arrive, that we're on the verge of something," Cashman said. "That can change from a quick positional change from my opponents, but I can't anticipate that."

One new name officially added to the mix Monday was Hiroki Kuroda, whom the Yankees tried to obtain from the Dodgers in a trade last July before the non-waivers deadline, a pursuit stopped cold when the righthander invoked his no-trade clause.

But Kuroda now is a free agent, and with a return to the Dodgers unlikely for him, the Yankees have renewed interest. "That's somebody that we're talking about," one official said Monday .

Kuroda, 36, went 13-16 last season but had a 3.07 ERA. He is 41-46 with a 3.45 ERA in four seasons with the Dodgers.

But the Yankees' interest doesn't mean there's a match, and they are likely to see how the market develops with Kuroda, as they have with everyone else.

Cashman said he had a busy week of dialogue last week, continuing through the weekend, but that's it. "Sometimes it feels like, ah, maybe something might be happening but then, poof, up in smoke," he said.

But mostly it's an exchange of ideas that, to this point, have gone nowhere.

"Finding matches are incredibly impossible," he said.

Cashman repeated what he's already said this offseason -- that he might pursue re-signing Bartolo Colon and bench players Eric Chavez and Andruw Jones but that his priority now is addressing pitching.

The Yankees are unlikely to enter spring training having made no moves, but it's not improbable that they will leave the winter meetings not much different from when they arrived.

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"I'm not down here to sit back and order room service for four days and be content; I'm going to keep trying," Cashman said. "But I just don't want to be stupid.

"I'm not going to do something just to do something because that's what you do at this time of year. I'm going to do something I feel is going to have a benefit for us in the short or long term or both. What helps me to be in that position is the talent we have and the talent we have coming . . .

"I'm here to reinforce our starting pitching if we can, but if we don't do anything, I'll feel good that we passed on making mistakes rather than we passed on making ourselves better."

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