I barely had internet service this past week — and I had absolutely no cell phone service — so it actually took me a while to find out the Yankees had re-signed Hiroki Kuroda. By the time I knew about it, the deal was official, Brian Cashman had talked about it and most important day of the Yankees offseason had come and gone.
With nearly three months of offseason still to go, why does Tuesday already standout as the most important day?
Answer that question with another: Can anyone imagine what the Yankees would have done without Kuroda?
No Kuroda would have meant chasing after someone — maybe a risky deal with Kyle Lohse, maybe a prospect-gutting trade, maybe make-up-for-it-with-offense outfield signing — that would have steered this offseason in a completely new direction.
No Kuroda would have meant taking chances, one way or another, that might have been ineffective in the short-term and might have been disastrous in the long-term.
Signing Kuroda limited the risk.
Of course there’s a chance he won’t repeat last season’s results, but Kuroda’s more reliable in the short term than any other starter on the market (including or not including Zach Grienke, depending on how you think he would handle this market). He also has no impact on the financial plans for 2014. That’s huge.
Tuesday was the day that let the Yankees move forward with a clearer view of where to go from here. The Yankees need only to get the Mariano Rivera deal done and get a decision out of Pettitte, and then they’ll know, without question, how they can proceed in their hunt for a right fielder. They’ll know how much they can spend on another bat, and they’ll know whether they can afford to trade a guy like Ivan Nova (or Phil Hughes).
I’ve only been gone a week, but already the Yankees offseason is significantly less murky.
Associated Press photo