O’s and Rangers agree on Uehara deal
The Orioles traded reliever Koji Uehara to the Texas Rangers on Saturday afternoon, completing a deal that will net them first baseman Chris Davis and pitcher Tommy Hunter.
The deal, which was first reported by the Baltimore Sun and confirmed by a source to MLB.com, comes in between a doubleheader with the Yankees and gives the Rangers one of the best right-handed relievers on the market. Uehara has pitched to a 1.02 ERA in his last 32 games, allowing just four earned runs over a 35 1/3 inning-span.
A first baseman, Davis gives an Orioles system devoid of upper-echelon position players another option given that veteran Derrek Lee is on a one-year deal and is also considered trade bait. The Rangers’ fifth-round pick in the 2006 Draft, Davis is hitting .250 with three homers and six RBIs in 27 games for Texas.
Hunter is 1-1 with a 2.93 ERA in eight relief appearances for the Rangers. He was a 13-game winner as a starter for the Rangers last year but strained his right groin muscle at the end of Spring Training, missed three months and was never able to regain his spot in the rotation. The Rangers have been using him in middle relief since he came off the disabled list.
The right-hander went 13-4 with a 3.73 ERA in 22 starts for the Rangers last season, and will likely be stretched out in Baltimore. The Orioles starting pitching has been inconsistent and they’ve made it no secret that they were looking for a Major League-ready arm in any deal.
The Rangers had been talking to the Padres about Heath Bell but Uehara has better numbers, he has been successful in the American League and he has a vesting option for next season. If he pitches in 12 more games this season, he becomes a signed player for 2012 at $4 million.
– Brittany Ghiroli