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Rapid Reaction: Hiroki Kuroda to return

What it means: The most pivotal player in the New York Yankees' offseason has agreed to a one-year deal. Having Hiroki Kuroda return was the first domino that needed to fall in the Yankees' favor -- and now it has.

Ramifications: The Yankees have a No. 2 starter and, if Andy Pettitte returns, they will have a pair of them. Kuroda was arguably the Yankees' best starter this past season, handling being a Yankee with ease.

Now, with CC Sabathia, the Yankees have two top-of-the-line veteran starters going into 2013.

If they add Pettitte, Phil Hughes could be their fourth starter, with Ivan Nova and David Phelps fighting it out for the No. 5 spot in spring training.

Waiting in the wings, Michael Pineda could be the Yankees' big starting pitching addition by June. Pineda is expected to be recovered from shoulder surgery by then.

After winning an American League-best 95 games last season, the Yankees' rotation will be a year older, but it might end up being better.

What about the money? The $15 million is one thing for the Yankees, but the fact the deal is just for one year is huge. Hal Steinbrenner is serious about his $189 million mandate for 2014, and this helps. The Yankees know they can have a strong rotation and still make the boss' goal come true. Without Kuroda, that was not guaranteed.

By this time next year, Kuroda very well might want to pitch in Japan, and the Yankees will be fine with that as they try to squeeze their payroll to less than $189 million for '14. Manager Joe Girardi acknowledged this offseason that Kuroda will likely finish playing where he was raised. Girardi said he would like Kuroda to wait a year to do it. Now, Kuroda will.

Question of the night: What do you make of the Kuroda deal?