Koji Uehara Is On The Block

Writing without even the slightest hint of objectivity, I’d suggest that the five most entertaining baseball players to watch ply their trade last season were:

  1. Madison Bumgarner;
  2. Curtis Granderson;
  3. Jason Giambi;
  4. Ian Kinsler; and
  5. Koji Uehara.

The Texas Rangers acquired Uehara from the Baltimore Orioles for Chris Davis and Tommy Hunter a day before the 2011 non-waiver trade deadline. Already in the midst of a very successful season for the Orioles, the right handed reliever went on to put up the highest strikeout to walk ratio among all relievers in baseball. Unfortunately, his success during the regular season didn’t translate to the playoffs, and the Japanese reliever was left off the World Series roster.

Prior to his late season and playoff disasters, Uehara made more than 55 appearances in 2011, causing a $4 million option to vest for 2012. Considering that the Yu Darvish signing most likely knocks Alexi Ogando back to the bullpen, Uehara’s services at that price have become somewhat redundant.

And so it’s not completely unexpected to learn from Ken Rosenthal from FOX Sports┬áthat the Rangers are shopping Uehara to several teams, but most notably, in that he actually mentions them, the Toronto Blue Jays.

After acquiring Sergio Santos, Jason Frasor and Darren Oliver this off season, the Blue Jays have revamped a bullpen that was disappointing at times last year. Acquiring Uehara may seem like something of a luxury on a team that in all honestly is unlikely to compete for a playoff spot in the very competitive AL East, but with the ridiculously team team friendly price tag attached to closer Sergio Santos, the team could easily acquire another expensive reliever and still not have too much money invested in their bullpen.

The Blue Jays could then theoretically take advantage of picking up Uehara on the cheapish from Texas, and use him as a trade chip later in the season when they’d hope he’d be more valuable. In the meantime, fans in Toronto would get to enjoy his fastball and slider combinations making batters look silly.

Also, he does stuff like this: