INDIAN WELLS, Calif. -- According to an industry source, the Red Sox have shown "strong interest" in the possibility of signing right-hander Hiroki Kuroda. After spending the first four years of his career with the Dodgers, Kuroda excelled in 2012 as a member of the Yankees, going 16-11 with a 3.32 ERA with 6.8 strikeouts and just 2.1 walks per nine innings while pitching a career-high 219 2/3 frames.
Though Kuroda refused a potential trade to the Sox in the 2011 season, he reversed course after the conclusion of that campaign, and expressed interest in playing for Red Sox last winter. However, while the Sox remained in contact with him throughout the offseason, the team -- which was nearing its payroll limit -- could not match the one-year, $10 million offer to which he eventualy agreed with the Yankees.
The Yankees have made clear their interest in bringing back the right-hander. New York extended a one-year, $13.3 million qualifying offer to the 37-year-old last Friday; presumably, any offers by other teams would need to be better than that standard. Moreover, if Kuroda declines the qualifying offer to sign with another team -- a decision that needs to be made by this Friday at 5pm EST -- the signing team would need to sacrifice a draft pick.
However, the Sox' first-round pick this year is protected, and so the team would lose no higher than its second-round pick for signing Kuroda (or any other free agent who received a qualifying offer) to a deal.