Koji Uehara Rumors
The AL West saw no shortage of action this offseason, with notables Albert Pujols, Yu Darvish and Yoenis Cespedes joining the ranks, but the division may yet make a few more transactions headlines before Opening Day. Here's the latest ...
- Angels outfielder/DH Bobby Abreu told Enrique Rojas of ESPNDeportesLosAngeles.com that he'd like to be traded if he's not assured of an everyday role this season -- this after Halos skipper Mike Scioscia said Sunday that Abreu will split time at DH with Mark Trumbo and/or Kendrys Morales. GM Jerry Dipoto responded by saying Abreu has "no right" to issue an ultimatum, according to Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com.
- Rangers GM Jon Daniels said Texas has no trades in the works right now, including any involving releiver Koji Uehara, and still has no plans to sign right-hander Roy Oswalt, according to T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com. Uehara has long been rumored to be on the trade block.
- Athletics GM Billy Beane said there are no guarantees for DH Manny Ramirez, recently signed to a minor league contract, beyond Day 1, tweets Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. Beane also told reporters, including Jane Lee of MLB.com, that signing Manny was strictly a baseball decision -- not for PR -- and that "we couldn't come up with a reason not to sign him" (Twitter links).
Here's the latest from the AL East...
- Red Sox owner John Henry e-mailed the Boston Globe today to clarify his comments from last October about not wanting to sign Carl Crawford in the 2010-11 offseason. "At the time I was opposed due to too many lefties in the lineup and particularly in the outfield,” Henry wrote. “My answer was an honest, off-the-cuff response on a radio station to a false assertion that ownership signed him for offseason PR purposes.. This was a baseball decision I ultimately backed.”
- Crawford, for his part, told media today (including Mike Petraglia of WEEI.com) that he wasn't pleased to hear Henry's comments. “I was a little surprised to hear the comments but like I said, it’s unfortunate he feels that way. I just wish those words hadn’t come out," Crawford said.
- Kevin Youkilis isn't worried about his contract situation, he told reporters (including WEEI.com's Alex Speier) today. The Red Sox hold a $13MM option on Youkilis for 2013 that can be bought out for $1MM. "For me, it’s not about a contract year. If I stay healthy and play hard, do all the little things to help the team, I know I can play here,” Youkilis said. “I know if I’m out there starting everyday and we win a World Series....it’s going to be hard for them not to bring me back. I want to make it as hard on them as possible to not bring me back.”
- Steve Melewski of MASNsports.com looks at how minor league options could impact which pitchers the Orioles keep on their roster this spring. Baltimore has 10 players on its 40-man roster who are out of options, the highest number of any team.
- Toronto's climate played a role in Koji Uehara rejecting a trade to the Blue Jays, reports MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan. "The weather is an issue," Uehara said. "I also know how hard it is to compete in that division." Despite the toughness of the AL East, Uehara has reportedly expressed an interest in returning to the Orioles if a trade could be worked out, though he told Sullivan that he would also be happy continuing to pitch for the Rangers.
- To round out the division's teams, here are some items about the Rays and Yankees from earlier today, plus the news that the Yankees have agreed to a deal with Raul Ibanez.
On this day in 1982, the Padres traded Ozzie Smith, Steve Mura, and Al Olmsted to the Cardinals for Luis DeLeon, Sixto Lezcano and Garry Templeton. The trade was sparked by both Smith and Templeton having issues with their respective teams. Here's a look at today's links..
- Stanford righty Mark Appel isn't a lock for the No. 1 pick in the draft, writes ESPN's Keith Law (Insider req'd). Appel touched 97mph in the first inning of his first start, but sat 91-95mph for the next six innings and doesn't command his fastball well enough in the zone to miss as many bats as he should, says Law. Law also looks at some Stanford hitters who should go high in the draft and notes some impressive velocity from around the country yesterday.
- The Angels have hired former big leaguers Gary Varsho and Jeff Cirillo as scouts, tweets ESPN's Jerry Crasnick.
- Rangers reliever Koji Uehara wants to get his situation settled and know where he's playing this season, writes T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com. Texas has been talking with clubs about a possible deal, including the Athletics.
- The Indians are still working through details in their talks with Jon Garland, tweets Jordan Bastian of MLB.com. The pitcher was originally set to undergo a physical on Monday but that now seems unlikely.
- When asked about adding Roy Oswalt or anyone else, Cardinals GM John Mozeliak told reporters, "We're always open for business here," tweets Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com.
- Dusty Baker only has one year remaining on his contract, but the Reds skipper says that he isn't concerned about it, writes Mark Sheldon of MLB.com.
- Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner told Hank Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle (via Twitter) that he hasn't heard from the team about a long-term contract yet.
- Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (via Twitter) has the contract figures on two minor league signings from earlier this offseason. Joel Pineiro will earn $1.5MM if he makes the big league roster with the Phillies while Ryan Spilborghs will receive a $1MM base salary if he's in the majors with the Indians.
Friday Night Links..
- While one source told Jeff Wilson of the Star-Telegram that a trade of Koji Uehara could free up enough money for the Rangers to sign free agent Roy Oswalt, another source said that any money saved would be pocketed rather than be used on Oswalt or Mike Gonzalez.
- The other team involved in the A.J. Burnett talks was the Phillies, tweets Buster Olney of ESPN.com. However, the club would've had to clear Joe Blanton's to make the deal work.
- The Diamondbacks will be on the lookout for catching depth through Spring Training, Olney tweets.
- In his blog for the Detroit Free Press, Jamie Samuelsen writes that the Tigers should stay in-house when it comes to their fifth starter position rather than scour the open market for an affordable arm. The highly-touted Jacob Turner is among the candidates for the backend of the rotation.
4:05pm: A deal between the A's and Rangers is unlikely today, reports Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle (Twitter link), since the Rangers are talking to another team. More progress could be made over the weekend.
2:48pm: Several clubs, including the A's, are talking to the Rangers about Uehara, reports T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com.
12:57pm: The Rangers and Athletics are "getting close" to a trade involving reliever Koji Uehara, reports Joe Stiglich of the San Jose Mercury News (via Twitter). The A's are known to be looking for relief help, with Uehara and free agent Mike Gonzalez the two names most frequently connected to the club. Texas has also been connected to Gonzalez and in fact have been trying to create payroll space for that signing by dealing Uehara.
Uehara has a partial no-trade clause in his contract and has already blocked one deal this winter that would've sent him to Toronto. It's unknown if the A's are one of the other five teams on Uehara's no-trade list.
The two AL West rivals last completed a trade with each other in January 2011, a swap that sent Guillermo Moscoso to Oakland. The Rangers were one of several teams who talked to the A's about Andrew Bailey before Bailey was eventually dealt to the Red Sox earlier this winter.
Here's the latest from the Lone Star State....
- The Rangers may be looking to sign Roy Oswalt with the money they'll save by dealing Koji Uehara, reports Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. We heard earlier today that Texas is talking to several teams about Uehara, with the Athletics possibly being in the lead, and the Rangers could instead be planning to sign Mike Gonzalez once Uehara's salary has been moved. Wilson says the Rangers want prospects for Uehara, but could also look for a middle infielder from Oakland, with the A's preferring to deal Adam Rosales rather than Eric Sogard.
- Besides rejecting a trade to the Blue Jays, Uehara has also used his limited no-trade clause to block another potential deal, Wilson reports.
- Oswalt's chances of becoming a Ranger are still "slim," tweets Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com.
- Richard Durrett of ESPN Dallas looks at the major trades, strategies and management hirings in recent Rangers history that has helped the team become one of the top franchises in baseball.
The Athletics are continuing to talk to the Rangers about reliever Koji Uehara, and they are also in talks with free agent lefty Mike Gonzalez, tweeted ESPN's Buster Olney this morning. Though Olney's tweet came prior to the Yoenis Cespedes bombshell, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports later tweeted that the A's still seek a reliever and Gonzalez is a possibility. And according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle, the A's are still likely to sign designated hitter Manny Ramirez, although they're out on Cuban free agent Jorge Soler in the wake of the Cespedes signing.
The A's and Rangers have spoken about a few relievers this offseason, most notably Andrew Bailey before he was traded to the Red Sox. Uehara recently invoked his no-trade clause to block a deal to the Blue Jays, and is said to prefer a return to the Orioles. Texas is reportedly looking to move the righty to free up room for Gonzalez, who finished last season with them. MLBTR's Tim Dierkes took a look at some other potential suitors for Gonzalez this morning.
Tim Dierkes contributed to this post.
- The Orioles maintain interest in Koji Uehara of the Rangers, even after adding Matt Lindstrom and Ayala this week, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets.
- Ayala and Dennys Reyes grew up together in a small town in Mexico, Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun tweets. Both Paragon Sports International clients signed with the Orioles this offseason.
- The Red Sox have not avoided arbitration with David Ortiz, ESPN.com’s Buster Olney clarified this morning (Twitter link).
- ESPN.com's Jayson Stark suggests the Red Sox are still in play for Roy Oswalt, even though the right-hander doesn’t seem to want to sign in Boston.
The A's agreed to extend GM Billy Beane through 2019 this week, but the offseason hasn't quite ended, so it's time to look ahead to Beane's next move. Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle and others have the details on the team's plans...
- Beane said he's looking to sign a DH for the middle of the lineup, Joe Stiglich of the Bay Area News Group tweets. The GM added that it's not easy to find a cleanup hitter right now.
- A's scouts saw Ramirez work out recently and they're interested, ESPN.com's Buster Olney confirms (Twitter link). A final decision on whether to try to sign him is expected within the next week.
- The A's continue pursuing Manny Ramirez and they're much more interested in him than Magglio Ordonez. Ordonez's health is more of a concern, Slusser writes. Signing Ramirez would be the last thing the A's do before starting Spring Training, and a deal could be reached after camp opens.
- People in the A's organization are intrigued by Kila Ka'aihue's power and if the A's sign Ramirez, Ka'aihue would likely get the chance to DH while Ramirez sits out his 50-game suspension.
- The A's have some interest in free agent DH Hideki Matsui, but he's a "real long-shot," Slusser reports. They've had some talks about Johnny Damon, who might be out of the team's price range.
- The A's are considering Koji Uehara, Slusser confirms. ESPN.com’s Buster Olney says “nothing is close” regarding Uehara and that the Rangers are looking to obtain a good return in talks with Baltimore (Twitter link). Ken Rosenthal reported Oakland's interest over the weekend.
Last week, Rosenthal wrote that Texas might be looking to move the 36-year-old to sign a lefty reliever like Mike Gonzalez. Uehara recently used his limited no-trade clause to block a trade that would have sent him to the Blue Jays and is said to be seeking a return to Baltimore.