According to a major league source, a report from ESPN's Jim Bowden suggesting that the Red Sox are "closing in on a short-term deal" with free-agent right-hander Hiroki Kuroda is inaccurate, with another source suggesting that such a claim was "baseless."
That assessment came in response to the following from Bowden:
The Boston Red Sox appear to be closing in on a short-term deal with right-hander Hiroki Kuroda to add him to a rotation that already has Jon Lester, Josh Beckett, Clay Buchholz and Daniel Bard. This move, along with the trades for relievers Mark Melancon and Andrew Bailey, quickly puts the Red Sox back among the AL’s elite. Kuroda is extremely underrated for the valuable innings he can provide from the back of a rotation.
However, the sources suggested that such a portrayal of Sox talks with Kuroda was inaccurate.
The Red Sox, who thus far this offseason have agreed to minor league deals with Carlos Silva and Aaron Cook (Cook's deal is not yet official, pending a physical), continue to explore the acquisition cost of virtually every starter who is available in free agency or trades. However, one source said that there is "nothing close" in terms of adding another starter for the back of the rotation, where the Sox currently have numerous candidates -- including Silva, Cook, Daniel Bard, Alfredo Aceves, Felix Doubront and Andrew Miller -- who will enter spring training in competition for the final two spots in the rotation behind Jon Lester, Josh Beckett and Clay Buchholz.
Kuroda, the 36-year-old right-hander from Japan who has a 3.45 ERA in four seasons with the Dodgers, is one of the pitchers with whom the Sox have been talking this offseason, but the team has been consistent in suggesting that it would only be able to acquire him if either his cost drops or if the team is able to shed payroll elsewhere. That said, because Kuroda has been healthy and consistent and seeks only a short-term contract, he certainly represents one of the most -- if not the most -- attractive options on the market.
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