Pursuit of Kuroda is heating up

Times Staff Writer

The Dodgers made “significant progress” toward signing Japanese free-agent pitcher Hiroki Kuroda on Friday, according to a source with knowledge of the situation.

Dodgers General Manager Ned Colletti had multiple phone conversations with Kuroda’s agent, Steve Hilliard, and their discussions left the club increasingly optimistic about their chances of landing the 32-year-old right-hander, who spent the last eight seasons with the Hiroshima Carp.

The Dodgers have offered Kuroda a three-year contract, according to multiple sources. The deal is believed to be worth around $10 million a season.

The Dodgers weren’t the only team that spoke to a representative of Kuroda on Friday, as the Arizona Diamondbacks continued their negotiations. The Diamondbacks acquired All-Star right-hander Dan Haren from the Oakland Athletics as part of a three-way trade, but the deal increased their payroll for next season by only $1 million.


The Seattle Mariners and Kansas City Royals also are reportedly in pursuit of Kuroda.

The Dodgers have also had conversations with the A’s about a potential trade for right-hander Joe Blanton. Because Blanton would cost the Dodgers three prospects, they would prefer to land Kuroda.

Camille Johnston resigned as the Dodgers’ senior vice president of communication, a position she held for two years.