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:

Comments (12)

  1. Been hoping the Jays would trade for Uehara ever since the Rangers acquired him. A very underrated pitcher.

  2. Will Uehara make up for the fact we are lacking a starting pitcher? Probably not. But he will for sure save us a few runs.

    If the Jays do get Uehara, someone (preferably Drew) should write about the statistical advantages of a great bullpen. How much do they statistically influence a teams overall performance? It may sound trivial but is building a great bullpen worth the sacrifice of the rotation?

    I hope it is…for the Jays case any way.

  3. Just curious, but why Jason Giambi?

  4. Makes me wonder if AA really believes this team can compete with better d in the outfield, the mid-season improvements from last year, and a much stronger bullpen. Maybe he’s taking greater stock of those blown saves than I expected.

  5. Any truth to the rumour that a Lawrie/Koji high five is the actual prophecized cause of the end of the world that the Mayans are predicting for 2012?

  6. the more i watch that .gif the funner it gets… notice all the players he passes laughing

  7. imagine how many dugout injuries there would be if Lawrie and Koji played on the same team?

  8. also: complete and utter agreement about using him and other relievers as trade chips later on in the season. This is how you accumulate value that you can translate into long term, younger players.

  9. The Jays traded for a potential middle-of-the-order bat, above-average fielding CF in Colby Rasmus by ditching two replacement level players, one good reliever that they ended up getting back, and a low-to-mid ceiling prospect. I see no downside to getting a guy like Uehara in here, especially if the younger arms slated for the ‘pen have some growing pains. Having a strong bullpen will help take some of the pressure off a young rotation who I think will go out there and pitch with less fear and hesitancy. The much improved defense will help as well.

  10. An extra thought:

    What would it take to land him in a deal? And is giving that up for him worth it vs the option of signing Cordero (which will only cost cash)?

  11. I heard that the Jays are one of the teams on his NO-TRADE clause. LAWL

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