Koji Uehara Rumors
Here's the latest from the AL West...
- The Rangers may be trying to trade Koji Uehara to clear payroll space for not necessarily Roy Oswalt, but rather a left-handed reliever like Mike Gonzalez, tweets FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal. We heard last month that Texas was interested in Gonzalez. Both Uehara and Gonzalez were acquired by Texas in separate trades with the Orioles last summer, but while Gonzalez pitched for the Rangers throughout their playoff run, Uehara struggled in the ALDS and ALCS and was left off the World Series roster. Uehara, who has a limited no-trade clause, already rejected one deal that would've sent him to the Blue Jays.
- MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez looks at various scenarios facing the Angels surrounding Mark Trumbo's ability to play third base and Kendrys Morales' health.
- The Mariners have two players on their 40-man roster who are out of options: Mike Carp and Cesar Jimenez. As MLB.com's Greg Johns explains, Luis Rodriguez is also out of options but, as a non-roster invitee to Spring Training, he isn't on Seattle's 40-man roster.
- Also from Johns' mailbag piece, he doesn't think the Mariners need to sign a veteran DH like Johnny Damon or Vladimir Guerrero, arguing that the playing time is better served for young players like Carp, Jesus Montero and Casper Wells.
- The Mariners inquired about Yankees prospect Mason Williams during the Michael Pineda trade talks, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (via Twitter). Williams, a 20-year-old center fielder, enjoyed a breakout campaign at low Class-A Staten Island last season, hitting .349/.395/.468 in just his second year of pro ball. Heyman is "hearing raves" about Williams' potential.
- Orioles right-hander Kevin Gregg told Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun that last year left a bad taste in his mouth. “I think we all have something to prove to ourselves and to the rest of the league," Gregg said. He posted a 4.37 ERA with 8.0 K/9 and 6.0 BB/9 during his debut season in Baltimore.
- MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli has heard that the Orioles’ interest in re-acquiring Koji Uehara has been overstated. It doesn’t seem likely that the right-hander will be traded back to Baltimore at this point. He is drawing trade interest after posting a 2.35 ERA with 11.8 K/9 and 1.2 BB/9 in 65 innings for the Orioles and Rangers in 2011.
- The Orioles aren’t comfortable with the demands potential trade partners are making, Encina reports. The Orioles discussed deals with the Cardinals and the Rangers, who are both looking to unload salary. The 2011 World Series foes have both been linked to Roy Oswalt in recent weeks.
Here's a look at some items out of the American League East..
- Earlier this week, Rangers reliever Koji Uehara rejected a trade that would have sent him to the Blue Jays. It appears that the 36-year-old would instead prefer a return to Baltimore and Dan Connolly of The Baltimore Sun writes that the O's have had sporadic conversations with Texas.
- Connolly also writes that he is unsure if the Orioles were one of the teams to make a three-year offer to Edwin Jackson, but says that it would make sense if they were. The club may be hesitant to go to four years for the hurler but hasn't completely dismissed the idea.
- Commissioner Bud Selig says that there's no timeframe for working out a compensation agreement between the Red Sox and Cubs over Theo Epstein's move, writes Dave van Dyck of the Chicago Tribune. Selig seemed unhappy with the idea of having to intervene in the talks between the two clubs.
A few items of note to share from the AL West ...
- There's a "good chance" the Rangers will trade reliever Koji Uehara, sources tell T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com. On Tuesday we heard that Uehara vetoed an agreed-upon trade between the Rangers and Blue Jays, so it's not too surprising to hear that Texas is still shopping the right-hander. There are a number of teams interested in Uehara, according to Sullivan, and the Rangers "like what they are hearing" in terms of potential return.
- The Mariners and Ichiro Suzuki have agreed to table extensions talks, perhaps till after the 2012 season, according to Larry Stone of the Seattle Times, meaning the 11-year veteran, who's spent his entire career to date with the M's, could enter free agency for the first time.
- Athletics managing partner Lew Wolff said he would be OK with signing Manny Ramirez, according to John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle, although the decision is ultimately up to GM Billy Beane (Twitter links). Said Wolff: "I wouldn't want to not have a player because he made a mistake and paid the price for it ..."
- The A's hope Adrian Cardenas clears waivers so they can retain him, tweets Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. Cardenas was designated for assignment earlier today.
A look at the latest from Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports..
- Kosuke Fukudome wants to remain in the majors, according to a source with knowledge of his thinking. Some executives, however, believe he could end up back in Japan. The Brewers had interest in Fukudome before signing Japanese outfielder Norichika Aoki.
- Rangers right-hander Koji Uehara enjoyed his time so much in Baltimore that he recommended the Orioles to the two free-agents the team signed out of the Japanese league, Tsuyoshi Wada and Wei-Yin Chen, according to a major-league source. A trade back to the O's is possible for Uehara, who rejected a deal to the Blue Jays this week.
- The Red Sox are talking to Edwin Jackson, who might be open to a one-year pact. However, one executive points out that the AL East isn't an easy landing spot for a starting pitcher. If Jackson signs for one year, he might be better off in the NL, where he could produce better numbers before trying the open market again.
- The bright side of the Nationals’ failure to sign Prince Fielder is that it allows the club to retain positional flexibility, particularly in center field. A long-term deal for the slugger eventually might have pushed the Nats to use an outfield of Michael Morse in left, Jayson Werth in center and Bryce Harper in right. Now, they can move Morse to first after Adam LaRoche plays out his contract this season and go after a center fielder.
Rangers right-hander Koji Uehara is drawing “considerable interest,” MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan reports. A possible deal with the Blue Jays fell through, but the Orioles are intrigued and other teams have shown more interest than Baltimore.
Scott Feldman has also drawn interest, Sullivan reports. However, the 28-year-old right-hander will make $6.5MM in 2012 with a $9.25MM club option for 2013 ($600K buyout), and he spent much of the 2011 season recovering from a winter knee operation. I expect the Rangers would pick up the majority of Feldman’s contract in any trade. He posted a 3.94 ERA with 6.2 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9 in 32 innings in the second half of last season.
Uehara posted a 2.35 ERA with 11.8 K/9 and 1.2 BB/9 in 65 innings for the Orioles and Rangers in 2011. However, he allowed 11 regular season home runs and three more in the postseason. He'll earn $4MM in 2012.
Rangers reliever Koji Uehara has invoked his no-trade clause to reject a trade to the Blue Jays, reports Richard Durrett of ESPN Dallas. The right-hander's limited no-trade clause allows him to block trades to six teams, and Toronto is one of those six.
Uehara, who turns 37 in April, posted a 2.35 ERA, an 11.8 K/9 rate, and a phenomenal 9.44 K/BB ratio in 65 games last season with the Orioles and Rangers. His $4MM option for 2012 vested in the process, but the Texas bullpen is starting to get crowded, particularly with righties like Uehara, Joe Nathan, Mike Adams, and Alexi Ogando. The Jays were one of several teams interested in acquiring him, but they have since signed Francisco Cordero.
The Rangers are discussing reliever Koji Uehara with several teams, one of whom are the Blue Jays, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitter link). The Red Sox and Orioles were both involved in talks regarding Uehara earlier this winter, with Uehara himself saying he wished to return to Baltimore.
Uehara posted a 2.35 ERA, an 11.8 K/9 rate and a phenomenal 9.44 K/BB ratio in 65 games last season with the Orioles and Rangers. Despite his great regular season numbers, he struggled for Texas in the playoffs and was left off the Rangers' World Series roster, leading to speculation that he would be made available by the team in the offseason.
Uehara, who turns 37 in April, pitched well enough to cause his $4MM option for 2012 to vest. He also has a limited no-trade clause in his contract that allows him to block deals to six teams, so Uehara has some control over where he would be dealt, if anywhere.
The Jays have already added Sergio Santos, Darren Oliver, Jason Frasor and Aaron Laffey to their bullpen this winter. In Uehara, Toronto would add to this depth with a right-hander who has enjoyed success in the AL East and some experience (13-of-15 in save opportunities with the O's in 2010) as a closer should Santos struggle.
The Rangers met with the Red Sox this morning, reports MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan. The Sox have interest in Rangers relievers Koji Uehara and Mark Lowe, while the Rangers like infielder Jed Lowrie. Uehara and Lowe are both eligible for free agency after the 2012 season, while Lowrie is under team control through 2014.
The Orioles and other teams are interested in Uehara as well, but the Rangers still hold him in high regard despite his struggles late in the year for them.
The latest on the Orioles:
- Baltimore has interest in Carlos Quentin and Gavin Floyd, but it's unclear if they match up with the White Sox, tweets Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun. The Sox would like young pitching and the O's don't want to give that up, Connolly adds. Brad Bergesen was one name floated by Baltimore in trade talks, tweets MLB.com's Scott Merkin.
- The Orioles are talking to the Rangers about re-acquiring Koji Uehara, according to Britt Ghiroli of MLB.com.
- A club official told Connolly that there's "no chance" the team wants Alfonso Soriano (Twitter link).
- The Orioles are telling other clubs that Adam Jones is off limits, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.
- Troy Renck of the Denver Post hears that talks between the Orioles and Rockies about Huston Street have "no traction" (Twitter link).
- GM Dan Duquette says he has several offers out to free agent position players and pitchers, and adds that the club was in on Kevin Slowey before the Twins sent him to the Rockies, tweets Ghiroli.
- The O's have re-signed Brandon Erbe to a minor league contract, tweets Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com.