Koji Uehara Rumors
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.
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.