Monday, November 11, 2013

Cano, Granderson, & Kuroda All Turn Down Qualifying Offers

To the surprise of absolutely no one, today Robinson Cano, Curtis Granderson, and Hiroki Kuroda all declined their qualifying offers of a $14.1 million 2014 contract, making them free agents and guaranteeing the Yankees of a 1st round draft pick should any of them sign with a different team.

Cano is of course seeking a huge pay-day and still will likely get it from the Yankees. Though negotiations have stalled, everyone still sees Robbie staying in pinstripes for next season and beyond.

However, the case is very much different for Granderson and Kuroda, for it is likely that these two have played their final game in Yankee pinstripes. Granderson is seeking a multi-year deal, and the Yankees were only going to bring him back for 2014. Despite all of his flaws (high strikeout rate, low average, low OBP, etc.), the Grandy Man's prolific home run power will attract many teams and likely make them overpay for his services. So, the Yanks are wisely taking the high road here.

As for Kuroda, it becomes another waiting game similar to the one he played last offseason. But, this time it's not as likely he returns for another go in the Bronx. Turning 39 in February, there is a growing belief that Kuroda will either retire or go to Japan to finish off a terrific professional baseball career. Even if he does want to return for one last season in Major League Baseball, his original team, the Los Angeles Dodgers, could make a big play for him and pry him away from New York, as they have the money and are better set-up to help Hiroki go out a World Series champion.

So what this all means is that the Yanks can now start negotiating with Cano on his long-awaited long-term deal, and that Granderson and Kuroda are almost certainly not coming back.

Curtis had a solid four-year run with New York, and with the struggles of Austin Jackson, Phil Coke, and Ian Kennedy (the prospects the Yanks dealt to get him), the trade made back in December of 2009 can likely be chalked up as a win. He even came close to winning the 2011 AL MVP with 41 home runs, 119 RBI, and 136 runs scored.

In both 2012 and 2013, Hiroki Kuroda was the staff ace, even if that label was attached to CC Sabathia. The right-hander posted 3.32 and 3.31 ERAs in his two seasons with the Yankees, providing a solid, consistent veteran presence in the rotation. One of his greatest starts with the team is already not too well remembered by fans, when he struck out 11 Detroit Tigers in Game 2 of the 2012 ALCS -- a game the Yankees lost in ugly fashion, 3-0.

We'll see if any talks between the Yankees and Granderson/Kuroda emerge, but no one in the baseball world views that as a possibility. So, get ready to say goodbye to #14, and #18.

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Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)