By C. Trent Rosecrans
"I think we're going to have a hard time signing him," general manager Ned Colletti told the Los Angeles Times' Steve Dilbeck.
Colletti said he's spoken to Kuroda's agent several times, but let those talks without a feeling of optimism in his chances of re-signing the pitcher.
"We have two issues. One is whether he wants to stay here and the other is whether we can afford to keep him," Colletti said. Colletti added the team's payroll needs to decrease from last season's $113 opening day payroll.
Kuroda was steadfast in his desire to remain a Dodger at the trade deadline last season, keeping him in Los Angeles. The Dodgers had hoped to re-sign Kuroda to a one-year deal, but he could return to his native Japan to play if the Dodgers can't meet his salary demands. Kuroda made $12 million in 2011, going 13-16 with a 3.07 ERA, down from the $15.4 million he made in 2010.
The Dodgers have already spoken to Jeff Francis, Aaron Harang and Chris Capuano in an attempt to fill their fifth spot in the rotation behind Clayton Kershaw, Chad Billingsley, Ted Lilly and, presumably, Kuroda. Rookie Nathan Eovaldi is another possibility.For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.