This offseason, the Baltimore Orioles spent free agent dollars acquiring two former Blue Jays relievers in Kevin Gregg and Jeremy Accardo. Given their bullpen situation at the time, stock full of above average right handed relievers, it was a curious move. Maybe this line of questioning is a bit too simplistic, but: Why spend money on players whose past performance wasn’t as good as the players you already had?
Perhaps the best of the relievers already on the team was Koji Uehara, so it only seems fitting that after carrying his quiet dominance last year into this season, the Orioles would be looking to get rid of him. Don’t get me wrong, I can’t fault a team for trading a 36 year old player when they’re unlikely to compete anytime in the near future. It’s just rather humourous that the organization had no problem giving 33 year old Kevin Gregg a two year contract for $10 million.
Over the last two years, only three relievers in baseball have a higher strikeout rate than Uehara, and only one reliever has a lower walk rate and a higher strike out to walk ratio. No one has allowed fewer walks plus hits per inning pitched. No one. He’s quite literally one of the best relievers in baseball.
So, while several general managers on contending teams get hungry eyes looking at Mike Adams and Heath Bell, there’s a less expensive, more dominant version available in Baltimore.
Uehara is set to make a total of $3 million this season, with an option for $4 million next season which will vest if he pitches in 55 games or finishes 25 games. He’s already made 41 appearances in 2011, so it’s likely that a team acquiring Uehara will be on the hook for his salary in 2012. However, considering the recent contracts that pitchers like Kevin Gregg and even Scott Downs got this past offseason, $4 million is an absolute bargain for a reliever of Uehara’s ilk, even at his somewhat advanced age and history with injuries.
Photo is courtesy of Getty Images and Uehara’s inability to cool off.
And The Rest
The World Series Champion San Francisco Giants met the President yesterday at the White House. Fortunately, none of them were detained.
Michael Cuddyer taking the mound wasn’t the strangest thing in the Texas Rangers destruction of the Minnesota Twins last night. It was Ron Gardenhire, down 9-1, calling for Mike Napoli to be intentionally walked. Seriously.
Dave Parker still believes that he belongs in the Hall of Fame.
Is Ian Stewart mimicking the career arc of Russ Adams?
Chicago Cubs first baseman Carlos Pena is more available than drugs at an after hours place.
Japan is threatening to boycott the World Baseball Classic.
It’s hard to believe that B.J. Upton is just 26 years old. However, I still don’t think his declining OBP over the last few years makes him the most attractive of players available on the trade market.
Denard Span, on the other hand, might be a more suitable trade target for the Washington Nationals.
These are dark days for Seattle Mariners fans, but at least they’re not the Houston Astros.
The Astros have set quite the pace for themselves.
Pedro Alvarez is back in Pittsburgh, and he’s mad, and he’s not going to take it anymore.
How does Jeff Karstens of America’s team find any success whatsoever?
First round pick Trevor Bauer has signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Catching a foul ball is important to some people, and they’re more than ten years old.
Wow. I’m not even much of a Dennis Eckersley fan, but that figurine in the photo below may be the best thing I’ve ever seen in my life.