Reports: Hiroki Kuroda re-signs with Yankees.

The Dodgers can cross one name off the list available free-agent starting pitchers.

Hiroki KurodaRight-hander Hiroki Kuroda agreed to terms with the New York Yankees on a one-year contract Tuesday, according to multiple reports. The former Dodgers pitcher is the first big-name starter to leave the market, and his $15 million price tag (plus incentives) is significant.

It should come as very good news for free agents Anibal Sanchez and Zack Greinke, both of whom fit the profile of the second or third starter that the Dodgers are seeking. The 37-year-old Kuroda was looking for a short-term deal, but that’s not believed to be the case with the 29-year-old Greinke and the 28-year-old Sanchez. Both pitchers can probably command a better average annual value than Kuroda on the open market.

But that could also be good news for the Dodgers, baseball’s new big spenders, who may have the financial edge in any bidding war for Greinke and Sanchez this winter.

The hot stove is heating up.

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Dodgers announce 2013 Spring Training schedule.

Dodgers pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training in 85 days. Commence Camelback Ranch logocountdown.

For those who have made a Glendale pilgrimage their rite of spring, mark down the following dates, announced today: Pitchers and catchers report on February 12. The first full-squad workout is scheduled for February 16. The first game is February 23 against the Chicago White Sox, who share the Camelback Ranch facility with the Dodgers.

There will be at least one home game during each of the five Cactus League weekends. The complete schedule:
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Poll: Which Dodger got jobbed the most?

Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw finished second in National League Cy Young Award voting despite a litany of league-leading stats: ERA (2.53), WHIP (1.023), hits allowed per nine innings (6.72), pitching WAR (6.2, according to Baseball-Reference.com), starts (33, a 12-way tie). He also finished second in strikeouts and innings pitched to the winner, R.A. Dickey of the New York Mets.

Today’s poll question: Is this the biggest robbery job ever against a Los Angeles Dodgers player in postseason awards voting? (Full disclosure: I’m a BBWAA member but did not vote for this award.)

Consider the following contenders, in reverse chronological order:

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R.A. Dickey wins National League Cy Young Award.

New York Mets pitcher R.A. Dickey denied Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw’s quest for a second straight Cy Young Award on Wednesday, winning the award given to the league’s best pitcher for the first time at age 37.

The veteran knuckleballer went 20-6 with a 2.73 ERA for a moribund Mets club, equaling his win total from the last three seasons combined.

Clayton Kershaw

Kershaw led the National League in ERA (2.53) and fell one short of Dickey for the strikeout title, with 229 in 227 2/3 innings. Dickey also led the league in starts (33), complete games (5) and shutouts (3).

Kershaw led the NL in wins (21-5), strikeouts (248) and ERA (2.28) while winning the award last year.

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Poll: Who should play third base?

Luis Cruz doesn’t plan on playing third base the when he suits up for the Culiacan Tomateros of the Mexican Winter League. “Probably,” he said Monday at Dodger Stadium, “second base, outfield.”

Luis  CruzIs this a sign that Dodgers are trying to turn their emerging everyday third baseman into a utility player? Hardly.

“I try to play the position I didn’t play in the States,” Cruz said. “It’s better for me so I can play more positions. … In winter ball I like to play one game at third, one game at second base, then if they ask me to go play the outfield in the middle of the game, I go to the outfield.”

It’s a nice plan if it works in Cruz’s favor, which it did last year. The Dodgers used him mostly in the outfield in spring training, Cruz did well, and when he got off to a hot start for Triple-A Albuquerque, he got called up and became a fixture at third — the Dodgers’ greatest position of need, not Cruz’s primary position in Albuquerque.

This season, it’s a different story. Continue reading

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