Today is the deadline for free agents to accept or reject qualifying offers from their respective teams, and the Yankees are waiting on three such decisions. We’ve already hear that, as expected, Rafael Soriano will decline his offer, and Mark Feinsand reports that Nick Swisher will do so the same. That, of course, is also not a surprise, and Feinsand also reports that Swisher has already received serious interest from five teams, including the Mariners and Rangers. The Mariners seem like a good fit to me, as they desperately need help at the plate and would probably benefit by putting some additional resources into trying to actually compete before they have to make a serious decision about Felix Hernandez‘s future there. There’s also been a lot of noise here in the Baltimore area that the Orioles have him on their radar, another match that would make a lot of sense given that, beyond some starting pitching, the O’s could really use some more on base guys. In any case, if you were holding out any hope that Swisher was going to make a miraculous return to the Yankees, you can pretty much forget about that now.
The most interesting decision for the Yankees is that of Hiroki Kuroda, as there’s at least a chance Kuroda will accept the Yankees’ $13.3 million offer.. It would, after all, represent a raise from his 2012 salary and a pretty good contract for a pitcher in his late 30′s, but Kuroda is coming off of the best season of his career and should draw a lot of interest on the open market that’s thin on quality starting pitching. He’s shooting down reports that he’s limiting his choice to either the Yankees or the Hiroshima Carp, and that figures to get several teams involved on him. The Red Sox and the Dodgers are already showing interest, with the latter apparently making him their top pitching target. You would have to think that means that both teams are prepared to offer him more than the qualifying offer that’s already in front of him. A week ago I thought the odds of Kuroda accepting the offer were probably 50-50, but today I’m leaning more towards the realm of slim to none.