33 year-old Japanese starter Koji Uehara missed free agent eligibility by just eight days; he ultimately re-signed for ’08 with the Yomiuri Giants for about $3.6MM. Uehara missed April of ’07 with a hamstring injury, and the Giants used him as their closer after he came back. So he’s capable of starting or relieving.
Yesterday, Uehara announced his intention to head over to MLB for the ’09 season. Mike Plugh has a scouting report on him over at Uehara Watch. Plugh suggested to me once that Uehara might be compared to Brad Radke. Japanese starters have been a mixed bag in Major League Baseball, but Hiroki Kuroda and Daisuke Matsuzaka seem primed for good years. Uehara could draw $10MM a year, though a three-year contract would be risky given his age.