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Yankees Free Agency Rumors 2011: Yankees Just Driving Up Hiroki Kuroda's Price?

The Yankees-Red Sox rivalry normally reveals itself on the field, with thousands of fans chanting in the stands and millions more watching on television. But sometimes the rivalry extends beyond the playing field and into offseason negotiations.

Despite reports that the Yankees are pursing 37-year old free agent pitcher Hiroki Kuroda, ESPN New York cites a source saying the Yankees do not have the required resources to chase the former Los Angeles Dodger. Rather, the Yankees could be engaged in bidding with the Boston Red Sox designed solely to drive up Kuroda's price.

The Yankees tried to trade for Kuroda last season, which shows that they are indeed interested in the right-hander's talents. But the money might not add up. Kuroda is expected to command a $12-13 million contract per year for one or two seasons and the Yankees would have to pay a 40 percent luxury tax on top of that. Despite Kuroda's strengths, the team is unlikely to pay $17 million per season for his services.

It's always a possibility that the Yankees decide to acquire Kuroda despite the deep pile of cash that would require. But last week, the source told ESPN New York that the Yankees "don't have the money to pay him."

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