Hiroki Kuroda decided to return to the Yankees on Tuesday night, changing the narrative of the Yankee offseason.
The theme of many Yankee offseasons past have been the big moves they've made to land themselves big stars and banner headlines. The theme of Yankee offseason present had been about what they Yankees haven't done.
They haven't re-signed Rafael Soriano, Nick Swisher or Russell Martin and they haven't been bidders on the biggest names on the free agent market. Zach Greinke, Josh Hamilton and others will find lucrative new deals, but they won't be wearing pinstripes when they cash their checks.
It's a strategy centered around keeping the payroll down in 2014 to avoid onerous luxury tax payments and also a way to keep the team from being locked into long contracts with players who won't live up to them on the back end. It's not the flashiest way of going about business, but it looks a lot better than Alex Rodriguez's contract.
Signing Kuroda for one year doesn't get in the way of those plans. It also provides some stability to a rotation that was looking pretty threadbare before Kuroda's return.
CC Sabathia was there to front the rotation and Phil Hughes was set for his customary mid-rotation spot, but things were otherwise unclear. David Phelps and Ivan Nova would be in the mix, although there isn't much certainty when it comes to the performance of either guy.
Now, though, they can lead with Sabathia and Kuroda, who went 16-11 with a 3.32 ERA last season. That lessens the amount they'll have to rely on the shakier members of the back end while also giving them two top-end starters.
That's the minimum they'll need to contend for a playoff spot in 2013 and it still seems likely that they'll get Andy Pettitte back for one more spin around the carousel. That would mean they'll only have to keep one of Phelps and Nova with the possibility that Brian Cashman could turn up another veteran arm, of the inexpensive Bartolo Colon/Freddy Garcia variety, to compete for a role.
It's not as splashy as the old way of doing things