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Sources: Red Sox still interested in Hiroki Kuroda, but price may be too high

01.02.12 at 9:03 pm ET
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According to multiple major league sources, the Red Sox have remained interested in free agent pitcher Hiroki Kuroda. The cost for the 36-year-old, however, figures to be out of the Sox’ price range unless the team makes another move to attain payroll flexibility, according to a source.

Kuroda is open to pitching on the East Coast, with both the Red Sox and Yankees showing some interest in the right-hander. It is a different stance from the one taken by the pitcher at the non-waiver trade deadline, when he chose to lean on the no-trade clause in his contract with the Dodgers.

The Red Sox’ unwillingness to currently expand their payroll to include Kuroda — who is reportedly looking for a deal which would pay him in the vicinity of at least $12-$13 million per season on a one- or two-year deal — would suggest the team might be taking a similar approach to free agent starter Roy Oswalt. It has been reported that the 34-year-old is willing to take a one-year deal in the right situation.

After acquiring closer Andrew Bailey, seemingly cementing Daniel Bard’s spot in the starting rotation for the time being, Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington said the team is keeping its options open regarding the starting pitching market.

“I think that the starters that we’€™ve considered and talked about, and in some cases pursued, are a pretty broad range of pitching options,” he said. “We’€™ve just felt, to this point, that the deals that we liked the best on the trade front were the [Mark] Melancon deal and now this deal. We’€™re going to continue to work. We’€™re actively considering and looking at starting pitching options also, but we haven’€™t found one yet where we feel like the acquisition cost is the right one. That doesn’€™t mean that it won’€™t come. It just hasn’€™t come yet.

“I do think our situation has been one where we can afford to be a little bit patient in the starting pitching market because of what we have at the front of the rotation. If we can find ways to build depth in the rotation, we will. We don’€™t feel like we’€™re forced into doing that. With what we have at the front of the rotation, and with Bard and [Alfredo] Aceves both coming to camp as starters and giving us options there, along with Andrew Miller and [Felix] Doubront and others who will be in camp showcasing their abilities as starters.”

Some cheaper options on the free agent market, some of whom might settle for one-year deals, include Bartolo Colon, Jeff Francis, Jon Garland, Paul Maholm, Joel Pineiro and Joe Saunders. (For a more expanded look at what is left on the free agent market for starting pitching, see this post on MLB Trade Rumors.)

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