The Cardinals' two-year, $26 million free agent agreement with National League MVP candidate Carlos Beltran looks like the steal of the offseason, but Hiroki Kuroda's one-year, $10 million pact with the Yankees can't be too far behind.

The Japanese right-hander was a force again Tuesday night at Yankee Stadium, stifling a dangerous Rangers lineup over nine shutout innings as New York pushed its American League-leading record to 69-47 with a 3-0 victory. Kuroda struck out five batters and surrendered just two hits while improving to 11-8 on the year. He has a 3.06 ERA, a 1.15 WHIP and a 121/38 K/BB ratio over 159 total frames this season, and has been especially locked in since the beginning of the second half