Might Hiroki Kuroda’s replacement on the Dodgers also come from Japan? From Tony Jackson of ESPNLosAngeles.com:
… Assistant general manager Logan White was in Japan earlier this week to scout Tsuyoshi Wada, a left-handed starter for the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks of the Pacific League, a source close to the team confirmed on Wednesday.
However, the Dodgers’ interest in Wada, who will be eligible for free agency this winter and thus won’t require a posting fee before a major league team can sign him, is only preliminary.
Wada, 30, entered this season with a 41-31 record and a 3.30 ERA in four seasons with the Hawks, during which he made 88 starts and two relief appearances. This year, he is 13-5 and ranks third in the Pacific League with a 1.70 ERA. …
Kuroda hasn’t announced his decision for 2012, but Dylan Hernandez of the Times offered a clue about the righthander’s leanings.
… Hiroki Kuroda received a hug from Clayton Kershaw. He was tapped on the shoulder by Josh Lindblom, who told him, “See you next year.”
Kuroda’s eyes were red.
Kuroda denied that he was fighting back tears because he had already decided this would be his last day with the Dodgers. He will be a free agent this winter. …
… But Kuroda was also a free agent at the end of last season and he wasn’t nearly as emotional then.
Near the end of the Dodgers’ team meeting Monday, Kershaw stood up and announced he had something to say.
He said he wanted Kuroda to return next season.
“He knows how we feel,” Kershaw said. “We love him here. If he decides to go back to Japan, we understand. That’s his home. He will be a tough person and a tough player to replace, if he decides to go home to Japan.” …