Yankees Rumors: New York Focused on Hiroki Kuroda, Mariano Rivera

While the New York Yankees saw free agent outfielder Torii Hunter, who signed with the Detroit Tigers yesterday, as a good fit, their focus at this point is on re-signing right-handers Hiroki Kuroda and Mariano Rivera, reports Erik Boland of Newsday.

Given the fact that Nick Swisher is a free agent that’s not expected to re-up his contract with the Yankees, New York has a need in their outfield. Beyond Swisher, veteran Ichiro Suzuki, who played a key role for the Yankees late last season, has also hit the open market.

However, New York’s focus remains on pitching, both of the starting and relief variety.

Kuroda played a pivotal role as a consistently productive veteran starter for the Yankees last season. He won 16 games while posting an ERA and WHIP of 3.32 and 1.165 over 33 starts.

Given the uncertainty surrounding Andy Pettitte and the lack of depth in the Yankees’ rotation beyond C.C. Sabathia, some have characterized New York’s offseason as hinging on Kuroda.

New York’s bullpen was productive last season, but Rafael Soriano, who stepped in as closer for the injured Rivera, has opted out of his contract and may not return with the Yankees next season. This makes convincing Rivera to forego retirement and re-signing the future Hall of Famer that much more important.

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