Orioles Want A One-Year Deal With Koji Uehara

The Orioles are looking to re-sign reliever Koji Uehara to a one-year, incentive-laden contract, reports Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun.  Andy MacPhail "very much wants Uehara back on the [2011] Orioles, probably even to serve as the team’s closer," but Zrebiec writes that the club didn't offer arbitration to the Type B free agent due to concerns about Uehara's health. 

The 35-year-old has made four trips to the DL during his two years in Baltimore, but is coming off a season in which he posted a 2.86 ERA and a whopping 11.00 K/BB ratio in 43 relief appearances.  Those numbers would've earned Uehara a salary of roughly $6-$7MM in 2011 (up from $5MM in 2010) had he accepted the team's arbitration offer.

Zrebiec thinks that despite it all, "there is also a sense that Uehara’s first choice is return to the club," citing the fact that Uehara enjoys Baltimore and his son is enrolled in school in the city.  It's a calculated risk on the Orioles' part:

"Had they felt Uehara would get a multi-year deal elsewhere, I assume offering him arbitration would have been a slam dunk," Zrebiec says.  "But MacPhail has certainly put added pressure on himself to resign Uehara. If he can’t, the Orioles will not only be without their closer, but they won’t get a draft pick either.'

None of the five MLBTR writers polled thought Uehara would re-sign with the Orioles, though it's interesting to note that all five of us saw Uehara going to teams (the Mets, Red Sox, Tigers and Twins) where he would be a set-up man or an emergency closer, not the main ninth inning option.  Zrebiec notes that Uehara "loves the responsibility of closing," so he could choose to stay in Baltimore simply because the Orioles would install him as the closer on Opening Day.  Closer-needy teams like the Rays or Diamondbacks could also be contenders to sign Uehara if he prioritizes being a stopper and wants more than just one guaranteed year.

11 Responses to Orioles Want A One-Year Deal With Koji Uehara Leave a Reply

  1. CaseyBlakeDeWitt 5 years ago

    I would think that he would at least have to fight Gonzalez for the job in Spring Training..

    • I can see your argument, but I feel that the O’s position is this:

      Give it to Uehara out of the gate. If he gets hurt put Gonzalez in the 9th inning role.
      When Koji comes back, it’s up to management. Based on his numbers last year though I see no reason why he isn’t at the very least the favorite.

  2. TartanElk 5 years ago

    He would never have gone to the Tigers. Dombrowski loves Venezuelans, but seems to dislike Asian players.

  3. If all it takes is an incentive laden contract for 1 year to sign this guy. Then a lot of teams should trying their best to sign him asap. That K/BB ratio is disgusting.

  4. The_Athlete 5 years ago

    The Orioles were willing to overpay for V-Mart and now they are being cheap with Koji? It sounds like Koji wants to stay so get him signed, he won’t be that expensive. So even with the injury risk a second year shouldn’t hurt the Orioles going forward. And because they were willing to pay to get V-Mart they have absolutely no excuse for not being in on Dunn or Konerko so hopefully they are or will be.

  5. BradyAndersonsSideburns 5 years ago

    Koji has been great when he’s healthy, but that’s the problem. He gets hurt just looking at the field sometimes.

  6. roberty 5 years ago

    I am surprised it is listed as a strength that Uehera’s kid is enrolled in the Baltimore city school system.

    • niched 5 years ago

      As opposed to the NYC school system or one any other major American city? Anyway, nice attempt at a joke, but my guess is his son is likely enrolled in a private school.

      • roberty 5 years ago

        Of course his son is enrolled in private school. Therein lies the joke. Way to ruin it pal.

  7. Six_Eight 5 years ago

    O’s once again showing the world how poorly a Peter Angelos organization is run. Penny wise, pound foolish and totally stupid. The guy can help the Orioles, he did a great job as a reliever, he likes Baltimore and wants to stay, is an international player. So what do they do? Play chicken and hope to save a few million for Peter’s pocket because they are not going to spend the money this year either. Just more ill will and why free agents are less likely to come to Baltimore.

  8. Eric 5 years ago

    Come on McPhail get moving on this.

    Uehara even with his injury problems is someone we need in the bullpen.

    The guy is lights out when on his game

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