When the Yankees signed Hiroki Kuroda prior to the 2012 season, Hal Steinbrenner had to approve an increase in the team’s payroll in order to land the former Dodger for one year and $10 million. The Yankees, you see, are thinking about their budget more these days, even if they’re hardly pinching pennies. And so yesterday brought word that Kuroda — the Yankees’ most dependable starter last season — will be back with the team next year. He’s getting a raise: Kuroda signed another one-year deal, this one for a reported $15 million.
Remember, though, that the Yankees have a very specific goal in mind with regard to their budget, thanks to the most recent collective bargaining agreement: They want to be under $189 million by 2014 so as to avoid paying heavy taxes. And so Kuroda’s expensive one-year deal doesn’t really affect their payroll beyond 2013. Kuroda will turn 38 in February, but he also showed last year that he could make the transition from the National League to the AL East. The Yankees didn’t get any younger by re-signing Kuroda, but it brings back a pitcher who was very good for them last season, and does so without affecting their plan for 2014.