On the surface it's difficult not to like what the Yankees have gotten from Hiroki Kuroda this season. He has won eight games, owns a solid 3.67 ERA, and has produced a strikeout to walk ratio of 89 to 33. All of which adds up to looking great on paper.
Yet Kuroda's last two starts were somewhat dismal. Arguably, they were the two most important games he pitched this year given each team he faced is likely to make the playoffs and could very well wind up opponents of the New York Yankees.
On July 8, Kuroda was touched up for seven run in 5.2 innings pitched against the Boston Red Sox while on July 13 he surrendered five runs in 7.1 innings to the Los Angeles Angels. The Yankees went on to win both games, but Kuroda didn't factor into the decision.
Last season, Kuroda went 13-16 on a Los Angeles Dodgers team that was over .500.
Some guys are big game pitchers, others simply aren't. Given Kuroda is 37 years of age and a free agent after this season, is it really time to find out which category he belongs in?
It's for those reasons that I find it strange as to how so many pundits, radio talk show hosts, and fans believe the Yankees would be ill advised to seek starting pitching help within the next week or two. After all, aren't those the same folks who wondered aloud as to what the Yankees would do with Andy Pettitte once he proclaimed his return to the Yankees during the spring? Given the recent injuries to CC Sabathia and Pettitte, as well as the season ending injury to Michael Pineda in spring training, why shouldn't the Yankees chase rotation help?
That is unless you are convinced that Freddy Garcia could handle postseason starts.
Passing on Cole Hamels (too expensive) and Zack Greinke (not the best fit for New York) would be wise. Besides, the Philadelphia Phillies asking price for Hamels has been exorbitant while the Milwaukee Brewers seem more interested in locking up Greinke long term.
That leaves a combination of Francisco Liriano (Minnesota Twins), Matt Garza, and Ryan Dempster (both of the Chicago Cubs) as solid alternatives for the Yankees. Of the three, Liriano may be the most reasonably priced and the team has already expressed interest in him. Then again, so have the New York Mets, Cincinnati Reds, and others.
Even if fans and the team are comfortable with Kuroda, depth and experience in the rotation would be a wise addition to a ball club that could go deep into the 2012 playoffs.
Sources: Yahoo! Sports
Robert Watkins is former investment professional and partner. A New York resident until 9/11, he considers Pa. his adoptive home. A passionate Yankees fan and Pennsylvania sports enthusiast, Robert is a frequent contributor to Yahoo! Sports and News.