Welp. I guess we now know for sure what that crazily-translated article from Yahoo! Japan was trying to tell us– which now makes total sense, and which some folks suggested it said at the time.

MLBTR points us to Richard Durrett of ESPN Dallas, who presumably has a Japanese friend or two and didn’t get too sidetracked by a comical web translation to do his job, to clear up the mess, as he explains that a deal was in place to send Rangers reliever Koji Uehara to the Jays– hopefully not for Mike Napoli this fucking time– but the player rejected it.

Evidently Toronto was one of the six teams on his limited no-trade clause (the military being one of the others?), and Uehara invoked it, preferring not to move his family from Baltimore to Toronto.

Uhh…. bon choix there, Koji.

Subsequently, one can assume, the Jays move on to plan-B, signing free agent Francisco Cordero to augment their bullpen instead. A definite downgrade.

Comments (75)

  1. Stoeten, not sure you can call it a downgrade per se, since there’s no way of knowing what the Jays were going to have to give up for Uehara.

    Personally, I think Koji would’ve been a great fit (way better than Coco) but probably just as much of an overkill.

  2. Rejection is a shitty thing but that kind of thing can happen if the word gets out that you might be a cheap date that is worried about control.

  3. Why spend $9 mil on Oliver/Cordero when you could get Oswalt for that. Oswalt would be worth more in a trade than those 2 combined and you’d net at least one high-end prospect whereas the Oliver/Cordero deals would like be split up splitting the return across lower end prospects. Plus for the actual team on the field in 2012 you need a starter a lot more than 2 bullpen arms. Santos, Frasor, Janssen, Carreno, Villanueva, Perez, Litsch would have been a fine bullpen. There are definitely a lot more question marks having Alvarez/McGowan/Drabek/Cecil/Laffey filling 3 spots in the rotation than there would have been with that bullpen.

  4.  except that its obvious that the jays aren’t really interested in fielding a winning team. so there’s that.

  5. He would have to want to play for the Jays, first. There’s very little reason why he’d come to Toronto (i.e. they’re not a contender, etc.) if there’s a number of different teams that would be able to offer him a 1-year deal.

  6. The entire off season has created more questions than answers

  7. Yeah, it really depends on what would have been going the other way. I’d definitely prefer Koji over Cordero, but I’m also happier with the team just giving up cash rather than giving up a potentially useful prospect. So I guess those two things kind of even each other out here. Especially considering Anthopoulos got completely Anthopoulos’d by Jon Daniels the last time they got together for a trade.

  8. Right, that’s the spirit. 

    Don’t look at the context of why Oswalt might not want to sign with the Jays and instead of just lash out wildly to anything that’s remotely close to your current opinion.

  9. Kind of cool piece of trivia I just noticed about Cordero: he was once traded (from the Tigers to the Rangers, along with Frank Catalanatto) for a package that included Gregg Zaun.

  10. Note to Koji – Toronto is closer to Baltimore than Texas. 

  11. You’re assuming Oswalt would want to play here. Which he probably doesn’t.

  12. “Why spend $9 mil on Oliver/Cordero when you could get Oswalt for that?”

    Because Oswalt was NOT very good in the NL last year, and moving to the AL East would up his suckage even more

  13. I know that it is irrational to feel this way – as everyone has a right to live and work in their city of choice – but a part of me just wants to say “yeah, well then fuck you Koji”

  14. Cordero being a downgrade compared to Uehara.

  15. You have to assume two things that Oswalt wants to play here and that he’d be healthy enough to get them anything in trade. Both of which could happen but even so, it’s more fun for fans IMO to watch younger in-house solutions develop or flame out than seeing a veteran either be average for half a season or hurt. Just my $0.02.

  16. Also, AA flat out said they were only looking to add a “front line” SP.  I don’t think Oswalt fits the bill anymore. 

  17. Non-Toronto friends of mine always question why I would want to live here. I’ve lived in a lot of other places. I personally love this city and can’t imagine living anywhere else. But most of the reasons I love TO (local hangouts, friends, work/life balance) people from outside the city would have no ability to know.

    I imagine for Uehara the fact that his family is there – and as a rich person he has a nice life for himself there is most of the reason. Most of what sucks about Baltimore wouldn’t apply to a millionaire.

  18. Uehara sounds too much like a female body part anyways so to Hell with him!

  19. So….there were at least 24,  ( T-W-E-N-T-Y  F-O-U-R!! )  teams ahead of the Jays on Koji’s list?  Thats a bit depressing. Just the chance that, of the 6 teams he would’nt want to go to, the Jays could still have been his least favourite, makes me want to come out and boo the S.O.B. relentlessly. And I live in Winnipeg.

  20. except all reports indicate that oswalt wants to play for a contender

  21. I’m assuming that he would want to play here based on it being January 25th and he still hasn’t signed with anyone. At this point he’d be willing to take what he can get on a one year deal to build up value for another deal like Francisco Cordero. It’s already come out that he wants a one year $7-8 mil deal so I’m assuming with confidence that a few weeks before ST 1 year, $9 mil would look great to him.
    As for his performance. In 35 starts for the Phillies he pitched to a 2.96 ERA and a 133 ERA+ care of baseball reference. Those numbers were put up as a 33 year old in a neutral park factor setting. I’m reasonably sure that he will survive the AL East as a 34 year old and in a few days when he signs with the Red Sox (for less than $9 mil) we’ll be able to find out in 2012.

  22. Uehara is a better pitcher is all I meant.

  23. I’m not sure about that.


    The Red Sox with both the money and the contending team (plus the increased desire) gives Oswalt every reason to sign with them. Assuming that a $1 million increase will get him to sign the Jays is as overly optimistic as assuming that he won’t be signed until a few weeks before Spring Training.  

  24. Besides a descent era, Oswalts numbers and peripherals were actually pretty terrible last year. Plus, who knows if the Jays have made a run at Oswalt…maybe he doesn’t want to play here either. I get what you are saying, but it is so easy to be caught up in the fantasy of playing ‘armchair GM’…a world in which wheeling and dealing is easy. The Jays would love to compete this year, but also like the idea of having rotation spots available come August/September for prospects who have stepped up, I’m sure. Giving a number of ‘in house’ starters a shot is a smart plan…2012 will be the year that questions are answered one way or the other…so I like the deals so far.

  25. Boston could use him. Reportedly he wants to play for Texas. Or St. Louis. He’s waiting for those clubs, and who could blame him?

  26. Wouldn’t get my knickers in a knot over players not wanting to play in Toronto. Field a contender,  pay them market value and they will come….especially if the Jays ever join the 21st Century and build a baseball only, natural grass stadium. Miami, Arizona and Milwaukee are all examples of domed, natural grass fields. I know Miami’s and Milwaukee’s are retractable; not sure about Arizona’s.

  27. There are pretty obvious reasons to not want to play for Toronto that don’t have anything to do with the city itself. Customs, currency, taxes, the difficult position the Jays are in, the bush league atmosphere at the Dome, the fact that your team plays second fiddle during it’s own season to transactions involving Gordie Pylon, who’ll spend 2/3 of the year with the Marlies anyway.

  28. Do you really believe that, or is that the pessimistic hater in you? We live in a world of instant gratification rather then patient planning and delayed gratification. I for one, am glad that AA is using the same plan that built the World Series Champion Jays, and the current Texas Rangers, and believe it or not the Boston Red Sox. While you are busy hating on Rogers, I’ll be planning the parade route a few years from now…oh wait, sorry…you will have jumped on the band wagon by then and be singing AA’s praises!

  29. You are right…but they are good questions!

  30. just remember he is from Japan…a uniquely ‘Asian American’ nation. If he was from the Dominican, India, Europe…that wouldn’t be the same list.

  31. Bizarre! I don’t know what to make of that… If I were a baseball player- I’d like to work with John Farrell. Of course… I’m not a baseball player… Whatever. You’re probably better off.

  32. You are right about the ERA…but that is a little misleading. Most of his other numbers last year would reflect a player in decline.

  33. I was playing around with an idea in my head and thought I’d put it in discussion with some of you fine folks here:

    I assume that we all basically have the right opinion that RP are just not as valuable as positional players nor SP.
    That being said, do you think that we can measure (accurately, obviously) the value of an entire bullpen and make a proper comparable with positionable player?

    Sure, Prince Fielder is worth more than Darren Oliver but is he worth more than an entire effective bullpen? 

    Is Prince Fielder worth more to a team, than equally effective bullpen? I’m not sure if that’s possible to even measure but let’s see here:

    Prince Fielder will be making 24 million dollars this year for a predictive 5-6 War Value. What if a bullpen collectively contributes to 5-6 WAR Value and being paid a total of approx. 20 million dollars? 

    With AA’s recent acquisitions, I was wondering if this is his point? He can’t afford Prince Fielder at that cost and that length, but he can afford a BP that might contribute the same thing (for one year) much more easily. 

    Since a Bullpen will need to appear in most games (unlike individual RPs), I thought it seemed reasonable to combine their total worth in the aggregate.
    Again, this might be entirely crazy but I thought I’d put it out there and see. Please point out an logical fallacies that I might have missed.

  34. Your right except Prince only takes up one roster spot. Presumeably if you can affors Prince you have a decent bullpen worth a couple exta wins.

  35. Maybe he didn’t want to move his family twice to and from another country when he most likely gets moved at the deadline. 
    These guys have wives and families too, if you were a reliever why would’t you decline TO?

  36. Seriously you can pick 6 cities you can block trades to and one of them is Toronto?  I mean, this is a league that has teams in cesspools like Detroit, Cleveland, Pitsburgh, etc

  37. I read on one of those dodgy sites that Uehara was turned off by having to go through all new paperwork to move his family to Canada.

  38. We didn’t get Oswalt because we don’t need starters, we need relievers.

    We’ve got tons of starter prospects in the minors, some of whom will be deserving of a call-up in June or later.  If we sign Oswalt, there’s no room for them in the rotation, because that would give us six starters without prospects.  Even with an injury there’d be no room for them.

    The Jays are certainly going to try them all out at starter first before trying them at reliever if they fail.  So the idea is to throw our plentiful starter prospects at a wall and see what sticks.  What doesn’t stick ends up in the bullpen.

    That means we need rotation spots now, and bullpen spots a year from now (because I can’t see them giving up on a starting prospect sooner than a year from now).  How convenient, then, that a number of our relievers are only signed for one year?

    AA left open the possibility that he’d acquire an ace, because why bother developing a starter prospect if you can acquire their ceiling, immediately?  Oswalt on a one-year contract does not qualify as that, because he does not add any future value to the club, and there’s a good chance that he isn’t the ceiling of our young prospects.  The number 1/2 pitcher AA referred to means a young, controllable starter, like Latos, Chapman, Felix or Pineda; not a veteran on a one-year.

    A veteran bullpen, meanwhile, can help limit the innings of said young starters, who are all likely on a strict innings limit anyways.  That’s why the money went there–because that was where the need was.

  39. I just realized something–the trade was probably Hutchinson for Uehara.  This would explain all of the Hutchinson praise.  And if this was the trade, yuck.

  40. Have to leave Oliver out of the conversation on this one. He was a definite need and one where there wasn’t better internal options. Better to include Cordero/Frasor in that talking point.

  41. Yep, Toronto is still viewed as an outpost.

  42. You can argue that but you have to take into account what was available internally.
    In this situation you had Carrneo, Beck, Jenkins, Drabek, McGuire and Litsch that could have filled Frasor and Cordero’s spot. Each one of those possible replacements costs you the bare minimum and therefore frees up the dollars for other opportunities. Unfortunately, maybe the window on those other opportunities has closed and this was the best he could do.

    As for Oswalt, he’s a great move with a high degree of risk  if you’re convinced that the team is already at 85 wins. Does AA believe that with so many question marks in this lineup? Does he believe that the risk is small enough to be costing Cecil and McGowan time to reestablish their worth?

  43. http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs

    Very good article. Might shed some insight as to why AA went the way he did this year when it came to guys like Oswalt or whoever.

  44. Yu crazy? Hutchison for Uehara. That’s ridiculous by any standard.

  45. I love these assumptions that Oswalt would want to come here for that price … you realize that FREE AGENTS CAN CHOOSE and that you CAN’T SIGN SOMEONE THAT DOESN’T WANT TO PLAY FOR YOU right?

  46. I hope you’re right.  Maybe the Rangers were sending a prospect with Uehara.  Maybe this wasn’t the deal at all.  Who knows.  We’re probably never finding out.

  47. As someone said earlier, those places aren’t so bad if you’re a millionaire.

    Also, I’m pretty sure Pittsburgh isn’t nearly a shithole on par with those other two.

  48. Oh my god no. Please don’t seriously tell me people think this.

  49. Of course they can choose but if the Jays offered the most money for him it would certainly make it easier to come here. I guess the disconnect is that I’m under the impression we would have heard about it if he was getting all these contract offers and turning them down.

  50. Makes a ton of sense. I suspect the problem is that the starters who drop their asking price to 1 year are doing so specifically so that they can pick and choose where they go a bit more. So Oswalt may simply not be willing to take the same terms from TO as he would from STL or TEX (where folks have been sayiing he wants to go).

  51. To which I add: being the road team at home 18 times a year when BOS and NYY visit…

  52. Actually very intrigued by new baseball stadium speculation.  Other than Downsview, where do you go?  The Ex again?  I hear the City has put up some farmland for lease at Pioneer Village…so…there’s that.

  53. Reliever yes.  Japanese reliever with a family?  I wouldn’t reject Toronto because of J-town, the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre, the Japan Foundation, Ontario Spring Water Sake Company (for the DJFs out there – how is this not yet listed under “Booze”, Stoeten?), Sushi Kaji, Ematei, Hashimoto and Guu.  But maybe that’s just me.

  54. there is no way that a new stadium is built. i don’t mean to burst your day dream bubble, but it will not happen.

    if you wanna hitch your wagon to a winning star start calling for a rogers centre renovation. if the rays leave the trop (or tampa bay) and the jays are the only field turf team left in about 5 to 7 years (which btw will be when the life of the current field turf will end) maybe they might invest in the engineering necessary to have natural grass installed. while they are at it likely they would  retrofit the stadium to be a “little more cozy” and better designed for other events so that they can justify the cost. 

    a renovation of rogers centre depends on the savings between the tax deductions of reinvesting in the facility and how much more revenue they could generate with the new design for special events. also, the climate of any special capital investment tax credits from the provincial and federal governments at that time will play a significant role. only then will there be any change.

    that would be the best case realistic dream to have. a new stadium won’t come for at least 25 to 30 years. book it!

  55. That timeline might fit right in with the on field plan. 

  56. What about that belt? That thing’s got some pizzaz!  Tell Koji, he can find that same one in the men’s section of any of our local Zeller’s…

  57. in the corporate world we call that synergy.

  58. Pittsburgh really is a city that gets an unfairly bum rep. I go a lot for business and really like it

  59. It seems pretty clear that his medicals aren’t inspiring a ton of confidence in people, hence the lack of a market for what would otherwise be a good deal on a potentially very useful starter (and subsequent big trade chip at the deadline).  You don’t think the fact that Oswalt has more-or-less publicly stated that he’ll come at a steep discount for whichever team wants to give him a shot, and that he’s still out there despite this is a good indication of how useful he’s likely to be next year?

  60. See, that’s what I have always wondered about. The costs of retrofitting the Rogers Centre for real grass are by all accounts massive due to the lack of drainage and other factors. So, OK, they have a firm grasp on those costs. I have a hard time believing that they couldn’t spend a fraction of that money on a joint research program with some upstart company in a hunt for the next generation of turf. None of this bits-of-rubber-strewn-among-the-blades-o’-plastic that they have now. Real GRASS dammit. (But not.)

    My kid came home with a bansai tree a couple of weeks ago. I thought it was real and I looked at it pretty closely. A while later he told me he bought it at a craft store for 3 bucks or something. Come on – if $3 fake bansai trees can be so convincing as to fool an eagle-eyed mechanical engineer, how much more can it cost to make fake grass with dead bits, dandilions, the odd discarded engine piece, and of course the ubiquitous June bugs rising up out of the field at dusk. (In late April. Badly named bugs they are.)

    I’m betting twenty bucks after all that tomfoolery you confused me with in your 3rd paragraph.

  61. It’s not. The Economist listed it as the 2nd most liveable city in America. Of course they also listed Toronto as 4th in the world, so I suspect Koji Uehara doesn’t read the Economist.

  62. I think you’re probably right here, but I remember reading a Blair article, where he said he new the idea of a new stadium had been ‘bandied about’ in a drawing on the back of a napkin kind of way.

    I think the a new baseball stadium depends a lot of whether Rogers and co ever acquire an NFL team to play here. 

    Phil Lind was on Prime Time Sports last year and said he felt the RC could be renovated to NFL standards by lowering the field.

    If that happens (maybe not likely, but possible) you’d have to build a new park for the Jays.  (It also would make some sense, as it’s could be cheaper to renovate the dome and build a small outdoor ballpark, than to build a huge NFL only stadium from scratch.)

  63. The Ex became BMO Field. At this point TFC and the Jays are averaging about the same attendance, so I think you can cross that off the list of locations. The only way you could realistically build a well located stadium in Toronto is on the same site. Which would require temporarily relocating the team. Not happening.

  64. As for location of this made up, probably not going to happen for at least 20 years stadium?

    The development of the portlands is going to be a major, major project for the city over the next couple decades (you might remember the Ford brothers wanted to speed this process up by putting a bunch of the land in private hands and building a giant ferris wheel down there).

    That would be my bet for the next location.  But who knows.

  65. in arizona they wheel the grass in for a game, then wheel is out for events. you are correct in pointing out the drainage issue, that’s why it would most likely happen as part of an overall renovation. an engineered solution exists, that i don’t doubt. 

    the main issue is that a publicly traded corporation needs justify a 100 to 150 million dollar investment into an asset that cost them only 30 million. if they can secure more events by making the facility better for them, and get a serious tax break, then they can do it because it “makes sense” to improve the asset.

    btw what are you betting the $20 on? yes or no to a new stadium or retro fit? 

  66. I wonder if something like that could get partial taxpayer funding in preparation for its use in the Pan-Am Games? The Rogers Centre is going to be the location for the baseball games. Apparently there are already renovations in the planning for 2015. Maybe that’s one of them.

  67. the situation with the nfl and the bills will definitely be a part of this. if toronto gets a full time nfl team (and the old guy who owns the bills should be dead in 5 years which will give them an opportunity) part of justifying the reno would be heavily swayed by the value of adjusting the stadium it maximize itself for maximum revenue from football. 

    as for the blair thing, he is wrong, well half wrong. the back of the napkin thing has been proposed to the jays by people trying to sell land, but the jays have said no, because it makes no economic sense for them. your just gonna have to trust that i have better source than blair (which isn’t that much of a leap if you keep track of what he says).

  68. now your thinking like a corporation that wants to squeeze as much value out an asset and pay as little tax as possible. 

    although, it may be a bit too soon. 2015 is not that far away.

    good job by you!

  69. Beeston has been saying much the same for a long time. Prime free agents have always wanted a premium to come to Toronto: unless of course it’s contending. Then they’ll settle for competitive rates. 

  70. Cordero has 300+ career saves, still has some stuff left in the tank and is willing to completely transform his pitching style/repertoire towards the end of his career.  Sounds like an excellent mentor for the young Sergio Santos.  Seems like this aspect is being completely overlooked.

    And I know that the whole “mentor” thing is partly made-up fantasy-land stuff, totally immeasurable in any case… but it can’t hurt.  The fact that Cordero will be able to impart his wisdom in the English language certainly won’t hurt either.  

  71. *double post*

  72. Hm.  All very interesting stuff!

    I would love to see either a new stadium due to an NFL retrofit, but a Rogers Centre that is renovated with natural grass would be a happy compromise.

    I wonder if it would be possible to, say, remove some of the outfield 500 level seating, and perhaps Windows restaurant? 

    I do think people may not realize that Toronto may be on the verge of a major change in the sports landscape here.  There’s been a lot of buzz about a 2nd NHL team for the GTA (look no farther than the NHL sized arena that they are planning to build in Markham and all the troubled US franchises), and Rogers is blatantly after the NFL (some movable franchises there too if the NFL has interest in coming here).

    Both situations are far from certain, but it will be interesting to see where the Jays play into all that, regardless of what happens.

  73. Oh sorry, wasn’t day dreaming.  Was simply wondering aloud what people’s thoughts were on this point.  I was trying to point out that I also couldn’t see how a new stadium gets built anywhere.  Perhaps I was missing something though and was interested in what realistic options existed.  Too bad Doug Ford isn’t a baseball fan otherwise we know what Plan C for the Port Lands would have been!

    Thanks for your analysis on the renovation route.

  74. Ah you went there (re portlands).  Should have read further before making my Ford reference. 

  75. I’d should check with you here. Which isn’t something I usually do! I enjoy reading a submit that will make individuals think. Additionally, thanks for allowing me to comment!

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