Results tagged ‘ Koji Uehara ’

Defending champs focal point of deadline

Seldom has a defending World Series champion been so clearly in the middle of the action from a sellers’ perspective leading into the July 31 trade deadline. But such is life for a Red Sox team that was 48-58 entering play on Tuesday, and 8 1/2 games out for  a Wild Card spot.

Jon Lester’s availability for an elite prospect has been well-chronicled, with teams near and far checking in on the ace lefty. But John Lackey has also found his way into the middle of the rumor mill and has a more team-friendly contract for an acquiring team than Lester, who is a free agent at season’s end. When Lackey signed with the Red Sox, an extra year at the player minimum was tacked on to the end of the contract if Lackey ever missed a season due to elbow woes. That’s exactly what happened in 2012, and 2015 is the year Lackey gets paid the minimum.

Andrew Miller, who has been a dominant lefty reliever at times for the Sox this season, is a free agent at the end of the season and another enticing potential addition for a lot of contenders. The one player the Red Sox are very hesitant to deal is their reliable closer Koji Uehara, who would likely return to Boston for the qualifying offer in 2015. Uehara will be 40 next April.

Lester takes the ball for the Red Sox on Wednesday night in what should be a high-drama event, given Thursday’s 4 p.m. ET deadline.

Ian Browne

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

7/29 Hot Stove Roundup: Who’s next to go?

That hasn’t really been decided yet.

Since Carlos Beltran officially joined the Giants on Thursday, no big moves have been made — at least not as of late afternoon on Friday. So, with the non-waiver Trade Deadline now less than two days away, and lots of big names remaining, we’re almost bracing for an avalanche of deals to be carved out just in time.

Before then, here are Friday’s biggest rumors …

* Ubaldo Jimenez is still the big ace that’s apparently being dangled, but nobody seems to have stepped up. Jon Heyman of SI.com and MLB Network said the Red Sox are aggressively pursuing Jimenez, the Yankees are “lurking,” and the Indians, Reds and Blue Jays are also in the mix. Jayson Stark of ESPN.com then stated that the Yankees’ interest has waned, and the Indians are the ones emerging.

* The Astros remain in “intense” trade talks for Hunter Pence, according to MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart. Pence was removed from Thursday’s lineup because of a potential trade, McTaggart added, and said a direct two-team deal remains general manager Ed Wade‘s preference. The Phillies have made Pence their top target, but how much are they willing to give up?

* The Tigers are a contending team, and they need starting pitching. That’s no secret. The question is who they can get — or better yet, who can they get without giving up top prospect Jacob Turner? One way or another, MLB.com’s Jason Beck wrote, the Tigers’ search for a starter is nearing a resolution.

* The Reds may be 6 1/2 games out of first place after losing four straight, but GM Walt Jocketty said this much: “We are not selling.”

* If you need a third baseman, don’t look to the Cubs. Aramis Ramirez and his no-trade clause are not on the market.

* The Mariners traded Ryan Langerhans to the Diamondbacks for cash considerations, in order to clear room on the roster for former D-backs outfielder Wily Mo Pena.

* The Rangers are pushing hard to get closer Heath Bell, MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan writes. Whether or not that materializes, the Padres have a lot of interesting pieces, and things should pick up between now and the Deadline.

* Jason Marquis, Jeremy Guthrie, Koji Uehara, Hiroki Kuroda, Erik Bedard (who pitches tonight), Doug Fister, Mike Adams, Wandy Rodriguez, Grand Balfour and Kevin Slowey are some of the arms that can be had before 4 p.m. ET on Sunday. B.J. Upton, Denard Span, Michael Bourn, Jamey Carroll, Carlos Quentin, Jason Kubel, Delmon Young and Josh Willingham are some of the position players to be had. But no movement yet.

So we wait.

Alden

Orioles reportedly made Gregg an offer

The Orioles, according to The Baltimore Sun, made free-agent reliever Kevin Gregg a two-year offer worth $8 to$10 million during the Winter Meetings.

Gregg, who served as the Blue Jays’ closer last year, also has interest from the Nationals, Pirates, Mariners and Red Sox, FOXSports.com reported recently.

The 32-year-old right-hander posted a 3.51 ERA, 1.390 WHIP and went 37-for-43 in save chances through 59 innings with Toronto in 2010. The Sun said Gregg is still negotiating with the O’s, who “still think they have a shot.”

One big factor in the negotiations could be whether Gregg would have the opportunity to close. Baltimore may choose to go with Koji Uehara in that spot.

– Alden Gonzalez 

O’s MacPhail: “no shortage” of activity

Fresh off this week’s general manager meetings, Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail said the organization’s wants and needs haven’t changed and called the two-day meetings “helpful on a few different levels” in assessing what Baltimore will do this offseason.

“People have different timetables, but we don’t necessarily control those,” MacPhail said when asked when the Orioles first move may come. “We’ve had the discussions that we needed to have.”

While he declined to name specifics, MacPhail said there was “no shortage of activity” in Orlando, Fla., both on the trade market and in conversations the organization had with free agents on its wish list.

Tops on that list is a corner infield power bat, making players like Adrian Beltre, Paul Konerko, Victor Martinez and Adam Dunn attractive, as well as Carlos Pena and Adam LaRoche. 

The Orioles would also like to add a veteran starter and a few bullpen arms and, although they have money to spend -with only Nick Markakis, Brian Roberts, Michael Gonzalez and Brian Matusz owed money next season — their wealth of young pitching makes for an attractive trade partner.

As for the criticism that the Orioles are moving too deliberately while other teams wheel and deal, MacPhail -who hasn’t been “too surprised” by any of the early trades — makes no apologies for how he conducts offseason business.

“What’s important at the end of the day is that the moves are the ones that help the club,” he said. “Whether they move fast or slow is less impactful than whether they are right.”

The Orioles, who lost seven players to free agency this winter, continue to have discussions with the respective agents of right-hander Koji Uehara and infielders Ty Wigginton and Cesar Izturis about a possible return to Baltimore. Whether that happens with Uehara and Wigginton could come down to a matter of contract length, with Wigginton and Izturis’ fate in Baltimore tied to what specific bat(s) the Orioles bring in.

While the organization expressed initial interest in Japanese infielder Tsuyoshi Nishioka, it’s doubtful they get involved in the bidding and even less likely that they win exclusive negotiating rights.  While Izturis left a hole at shortstop, the Orioles aren’t too keen on what the asking price of Nishioka will amount to and would prefer to spend their money elsewhere.

–Brittany Ghiroli

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