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Tag:Koji Uehara
Posted on: July 30, 2011 5:26 pm
Edited on: July 30, 2011 5:43 pm
 

Rangers acquire Uehara for Davis, Hunter

By Matt Snyder

The Rangers have been looking far and wide for a relief pitcher and it appears they have landed one -- just not Heath Bell or Mike Adams. Right-hander Koji Uehara of the Orioles have reportedly been traded to the Rangers in exchange for corner infielder Chris Davis and pitcher Tommy Hunter (Baltimore Sun via Twitter).

It will be interesting to see if this move takes the Rangers out of the running for the services of Bell and/or Adams -- if so, several teams would be quite pleased.

Uehara, 36, is pretty underrated -- likely due to playing for the non-contending Orioles. He has a 1.72 ERA, 0.70 WHIP and 62 strikeouts in 47 innings this season. He'll fit quite nicely in Texas as an eighth-inning bridge to Neftali Feliz.

Davis, 25, has shown signs in the past of being a prolific power hitter, but strikeout woes have plagued him. This season, however, he's hitting .250 with three home runs and six RBI in 72 at-bats. So it hasn't been a horrible effort since his recall. Of note here, the Orioles could immediately slip Davis in at first base and trade Derrek Lee. There have been reports that Lee is on the Pirates' radar.

Hunter, 24, is 1-1 with a 2.93 ERA and 1.11 WHIP in limited time this season for the Rangers.

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Posted on: July 30, 2011 1:36 am
 

Friday night trade rumor roundup

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Now that Hunter Pence is off the table, it seems Heath Bell is the latest big name certain to move. But that doesn't mean he's the only one. There are plenty more rumors out there.

One of the most interesting is the Cardinals having interest in Dodgers shortstop Rafael Furcal, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports

This comes after the Post-Dispatch's Joe Strauss tweeted shortstop had become the team's "priority" at the non-waiver trade deadline. 

Furcal, 33, is struggling this season, hitting .195/.267/.241 coming into Friday's game but could still help the Cardinals -- which tells you all you need to know about the team's struggles at the position.

• A new hot rumor is that the Tigers are making a push for Ubaldo Jimenez and have offered top prospect Jacob Turner, according to FoxSports.com's Ken Rosenthal. Turner, the team's 2009 first-round pick, is 3-5 with a 3.48 ERA at Double-A Erie this season. He has 90 strikeouts and 32 walks in 113 2/3 innings. The Tigers would prefer not to deal anyone from their big-league roster.

The Tigers are also dangling lefty Andy Oliver in return for a pitcher that can help them now, such as Jimenez, Hiroki Kuroda or even the Nationals' Jason Marquis, Jeff Passan of Yahoo! tweets. Oliver was rated as the team's No. 3 overall prospect by Baseball America heading into the season. He's 6-7 with a 4.64 ERA at Triple-A Toledo with 102 strikeouts and 52 walks in 106 2/3 innings. He was the team's second-round pick in 2009. He made five starts for Detroit last season and two this season. Overall he's 0-5 with a 7.11 ERA in the big leagues with 23 strikeouts and 21 walks in 31 2/3 innings.

• The Astros dealt Pence on Friday, but MLB.com's Brian McTaggart tweets the Astros have told inquiring teams that shortstop Clint Barmes is unavailable.

• The Pirates are still looking for an outfield bat, Jon Paul Morosi of FoxSports.com tweets, and that bat may be the Twins' Jason Kubel, MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch writes.

• Diamondbacks general manager Kevin Towers tells Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic that the odds of his team making a deal are "50/50."

Towers also said there are six or seven prospects he doesn't want to deal.

• Brewers general manager Bob Melvin told Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel he is still looking at deals, but wasn't hopeful of completing another. On Thursday the Brewers acquired Felipe Lopez from the Rays and brought him from Triple-A Durham where he was playing for Tampa Bay before bringing him to Milwaukee to replace the injured Rickie Weeks.

Melvin said the team would love to find another infielder, but isn't seeing many on the market. The Brewers have rumored to have talked to the Dodgers about both Jamey Carroll and Furcal.

However, the Los Angeles Times' Dylan Hernandez tweets the Dodgers' conversations about Carroll "have died."

• Orioles reliever Koji Uehara is a hot name, Sports Illustrated's Jon Heyman tweets. He says Uehara will go somewhere. He'll make any bullpen better. However, Rosenthal tweets that it's only a 50-50 chance the Orioles move Uehara. He is 13 appearances shy of a $4 million vesting option for 2012. The Baltimore Sun links Uehara with the Pirates, Diamondbacks, Rangers, Phillies and Tigers and notes all five of those teams have had scouts around the Orioles in recent series.

• The Rangers are certainly interested in bullpen help, but San Diego may not be their only trading parter. Brady Tinker of Fox Sports Southwest, tweets Andrew Bailey of the Athletics is the "most likely top bullpen addition" by Texas.

• The Braves may be reluctant to make much of a deal at the deadline so they don't repeat the Mark Teixeira mistake when the team sent, among others, Neftali Feliz and Elvis Andrus to Texas, David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes. The Braves are refusing to give up any of their top four pitching prospects -- Julio Teheran, Arodys Vizcaino, Randall Delgado or Mike Minor. They could look at dealing from that grow in the offseason when the team could be searching to fill more holes. Atlanta has placed center fielders Nate McLouth and Jordan Schafer on the disabled list in the last two days with Jose Constanza starting on Friday, making his big-league debut. Yahoo!'s Passan tweets the team is targeting center fielders. Rosenthal writes Atlanta is looking not only at center fielders such as B.J. Upton and Michael Bourn, but also corner outfielders such as Ryan Ludwick, Carlos Quentin and Josh Willingham.

• The Marlins appear to be holding pat at the deadline, MLB.com's Joe Frisaro reports. That means they'll keep closer Leo Nunez and left-handed reliever Randy Choate.

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Posted on: July 28, 2011 4:49 pm
Edited on: July 28, 2011 5:23 pm
 

5 under-the-radar trade targets to watch

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Sure, Carlos Beltran has been traded and there are still waves about Ubaldo Jimenez and other big names, but often it's the role players that are important in a pennant race. Here's guys that won't exactly stop the press, but could make a new team very happy they made a deal:

Josh Willingham1. Josh Willingham, Athletics: While not quite as sexy an acquisition as Carlos Beltran, Hunter Pence, B.J. Upton or even Ryan Ludwick, Willingham is certainly in demand.

Willingham is currently hitting .240/.327/.428 -- turning in his lowest OPS since becoming a regular big-leaguer. Playing in pitcher-friendly Oakland certainly doesn't help, but he does have 13 home runs in 324 plate appearances and a career .363 on-base percentage. Willingham has 116 career homers and could supply some pop to a team that needs a right-handed bat, and there are plenty of those. Both the Braves and Red Sox are in need of a right-handed bat in the outfield.

Willingham is a free agent after the season and currently projects as a Type A free agent, so it's possible the A's keep him if nobody meets their asking price.

Jamey Carroll2. Jamey Carroll, Dodgers: Carroll was a guy that was getting interest from Milwaukee before Rickie Weeks suffered a severely sprained ankle on Wednesday, and now he makes even more sense.

Not a bopper by any stretch of the imagination (he has just 12 career homers in 3,273 career plate appearances -- that's one homer every 272.75 plate appearances, and none since 2009), but he's a solid, steady bat hitting .291/.362/.356, a line that's pretty consistent with his .277/.356/.349 career slash line.

The 37-year-old can play around the infield and would step in at second for the Brewers -- and even be part of a mini-youth movement in Milwaukee where he'd take over the spot of 40-year-old Craig Counsell

The Indians are also interested in Carroll, who played in Cleveland in 2008 and 2009. There he would be used to back up rookies Jason Kipnis at second and Lonnie Chisenall at third base.

Coco Crisp3. Coco Crisp, Athletics: Crisp isn't having his best season, but the veteran center fielder could still help plenty of teams looking to shore up an outfield rotation or add a fourth outfielder.

Hitting .266/.317/.384 for Oakland this season, the 31-year-old has seen his stats drop from last season, and his .317 on-base percentage is his lowest since 2006. He does have 27 stolen bases, just five from his career-best.

CBSSports.com colleague Scott Miller made an interesting observation about Crisp, saying he's similar to Dave Roberts in 2004. Red Sox fans don't have to be reminded about Roberts' impact on Boston's title chase. 

The Indians and Reds have shown interest in Crisp, who could also help out the Pirates.

Koji Uehara4. Koji Uehara, Orioles: He's not exactly a household name, but the 36-year-old Japanese right-hander has been one of the game’s best relievers the last couple of years. 

Uehara has a 1.80 ERA this season in 45 innings, striking out 59 and walking eight. His WHIP is down to 0.689, but he has given up six homer so far this season, but that's about the only chink in his armor. In his career he's struck out 6.48 hitters for every walk.

Last season he closed some for the Orioles and converted 13 of 15 chances, so he could even fill that role if needed.

The Rangers, Pirates, Tigers and Twins have shown interest in him. He would upgrade any bullpen he joins.

Clint Barmes5. Clint Barmes, Astros: In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king. And in the NL Central, Clint Barmes is a legitimate shortstop.

The Astros traded for the player better known as the guy before Troy Tulowitzki in Colorado or the guy who fell down the stairs carrying deer meat, but he's had a decent season in Houston. He's hitting .254/.320/.402 with seven homers for the Astros. Better yet, he's a good defensive shortstop -- and Ozzie Smith compared to the likes of Yuniesky Betancourt, Edgar Renteria and Ryan Theriot.

CBSSports.com senior writer Danny Knobler wrote the Brewers are interested in Barmes. The Brewers added Felipe Lopez on Thursday, but Lopez is not a legitimate shortstop (of course, neither is Betancourt) and will report to Triple-A.

Another team to watch may be the Diamondbacks, who lost Stephen Drew to a broken ankle. 

Barmes is a free agent after the season.

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Posted on: July 21, 2011 4:43 pm
Edited on: July 21, 2011 5:07 pm
 

Trade Deadline Primer: NL East

By Eye on Baseball team

Leading up to the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, the National League East has an actual race -- as well as a team with a bloated payroll and no hope -- which leads to a great chance of some pretty interesting trades to and from the division. Here's a look at the five teams in the NL Eeast:

Philadelphia Phillies

Status: Buyers

Needs: Bullpen, RH bat

Notes: Manager Charlie Manuel said he'd love a right-handed bat (Philadelphia Daily News), probably in the outfield, but this is the Phillies and expect the team to focus on pitching -- at least that's what history tells us. And because their rotation is pretty good (you may have heard about some of these guys), they focus on relievers, likely ending a streak of five years of adding a starter midseason. The team is likely one of the many suitors for Padres closer Heath Bell, although some suggest the Phillies prefer Mike Adams. Padres owner Jeff Moorad has reportedly told Adams he won't be traded. However, according to Tom Krasovic of Inside the Padres, the Phillies are willing to give up Class A first baseman/left fielder Jonathan Singleton in return for Adams.

Another bullpen trade partner could be the Orioles, CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler said. The Phillies could be interested in Jim Johnson or Koji Uehara.

MLB Trade Deadline

As for the right-handed bats, the Phillies are in on the same folks everyone's chasing -- Ryan Ludwick, Carlos Beltran, Hunter Pence and maybe Jeff Francouer. The biggest hurdle of all for the Phillies is money, as in they've already spent it and they're worried about the luxury tax. The team has just between $2 and $3 million to spend and avoid the luxury tax.

According to Jon Paul Morosi of FoxSports.com, the Phillies and Royals have already exchanged names in a possible Melky Cabrera trade. Cabrera is a cheaper, younger switch hitter for those who fall short in the Carlos Beltran sweepstakes.

Now, if they're going big and bold, Buster Olney of ESPN.com, tweeted the Phillies could go for Pence, centering the deal around right-hander Vance Worley.

Atlanta Braves

Status: Bargain shoppers

Needs: Right-handed bat

Notes: The Braves need a right-handed bat like Roy Halladay needs air conditioning. Atlanta looks like the front-runner for the National League wild card, but don't have much money to spend. The biggest issue right now for Atlanta is its inability to hit left-handed pitchers. Braves hitters are hitting just .211/.285/.337 against lefties, with Jason Heyward, Nate McLouth and Jordan Schafer all below the Mendoza line against southpaws. That's why Jon Paul Morosi's report of the Reds' Jonny Gomes drawing the interest of the Braves makes sense, Gomes kills lefties to the tune of a .340/.446/.547 slash line this season and .281/..377/.510 in his career. There's also the regular names such as Ludwick and Beltran.

To make room for more payroll, the team could trade right-hander Derek Lowe, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's David O'Brien wrote. The Tigers could be interested in Lowe, but would have to take up the rest of the $20 million he's owed through 2012.

New York Mets

Status: One-stop shopping

Needs: Young talent under team control; pitching

Notes: Outfielder Carlos Beltran is the top position player on the market, but his future is clouded by the number of teams that could use an upgrade in the outfield and the fact that he's not for sale, he's for rent. Whatever team gets him won't even get compensation picks if he leaves as a free agent after the season.

The Mets would reportedly rather pay Beltran's salary and get a good young player or top prospect in return. They could unload him to a team willing to pay the roughly $8 million left on his contract, but then they wouldn't get much in return. The Mets would prefer big-league ready pitching talent. New York seems confident it can re-sign Jose Reyes, meaning they're not ready to throw in the towel and go full-on rebuilding anytime soon. 

Beltran, however, does have a no-trade clause. According to Tim Brown of Yahoo!, Sandy Alderson gave Beltran a short list of teams interested -- the Phillies, Red Sox, Braves, Giants, Brewers and maybe the Yankees -- and Beltran hasn't ruled any of them out.

It's pretty certain now that the Mets won't deal Reyes, but it appears they may be holding on to Jason Isringhausen, too, Sports Illustrated's Jon Heyman tweets.

Washington Nationals

Status: Listening to all offers

Needs: Leadoff man/center fielder of the future

Notes: The Nationals have pieces to deal -- from catcher Ivan Rodriguez to relievers Tyler Clippard, Drew Storen, Todd Coffey and Sean Burnett, plus starters Jason Marquis, Livan Hernandez and Tom Gorzelanny. In short, they're open for business, with GM Mike Rizzo saying no player is "untouchable" -- but then following that up with "we're not going to touch our core." That means, "after a while, they don't ask for [Danny] Espinosa," Rizzo told the Washington Post's Adam Kilgore. Ryan Zimmerman is also likely untouchable, as well as catcher Wilson Ramos.

One name to watch is shortstop Ian Desmond, but that would take quite the return for the team to move the 25-year-old.

More likely to go are some of the team's relievers. The Nats are deep in the bullpen and it's a position that's always in demand. The top tier would be Clippard or even Storen, but that would require Washington receiving a leadoff-hitting center fielder in return, someone like B.J. Upton, Michael Bourn, Colby Rasmus or Denard Span, FoxSports.com's Ken Rosenthal writes.

Florida Marlins

Status: Sellers

Needs: Third baseman, starting pitchers

Notes: The Marlins have starting pitchers that would interest many teams, but they may not part with them. Next year they rename themselves the Miami Marlins when they move into a new stadium and ownership would like a competitive team on the field when that happens.

Ricky Nolasco is the top starter to be had, but Knobler says they'd have to get a younger, cheaper starter in return for the 28-year-old right-hander.

The one the team may part with is Javier Vazquez, but it's not really their decision. Vazquez has a full no-trade clause and isn't in any hurry to leave South Florida. There are few places he'd accept a trade.

Sure to be gone is closer Leo Nunez. The Phillies are interested in Nunez. The other teams desperate for bullpen help -- like the Cardinals and Rangers -- are likely to at least inquire what it may take to get him.

Randy Choate has been verbal this week about his problems with current manager Jack McKeon and could get shipped off for not being a good soldier.

Also on the block are free-agents-to-be Greg Dobbs and Omar Infante. Infante's value is a lot less than it was a year ago.

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Posted on: April 17, 2011 7:29 pm
 

Uehara's streak stopped

Koji UeharaBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Before a full-count pitch to Shin-Soo Choo with one out in the eighth inning on Sunday, Orioles reliever Koji Uehara had gone 36 appearances without a walk.

That pitch -- much to the chagrin of Uehara and manager Buck Showalter -- was called a ball, ending the third-longest streak in baseball history behind Dennis Eckersley (41 games from 1989-1990) and John Smoltz (38 games from 2003-2004). 

"I'm not so sure it was a walk, either," Showalter said of the pitch called a ball by home plate umpire Ed Hickox, via the Baltimore Sun.

Uehara, through his interpreter, told reporters, "I think it wasn't going well with the umpires today."

After going 36 appearances without a walk, Uehara walked Travis Hafner after striking out Carlos Santana. His last walk before today was July 16, 2010, to Fred Lewis, then with the Blue Jays.

Uehara needed 29 pitches to get through the inning in which he also struck out two batters, but had needed just 33 pitches to get through the first 4 2/3 innings he'd thrown this season. Still, he said he'll be ready to pitch on Monday. He's allowed just one hit and no runs in five appearances this season.

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Posted on: December 13, 2010 12:57 pm
 

Ray could be headed back to Baltimore

Chris Ray There seems to be at least some level of mutual interest between the Orioles and their former closer, Chris Ray, the Baltimore Sun's Jeff Zrebiec writes.

Ray, non-tendered by the Giants, had 33 saves for the Orioles in 2006, with 16 more in 2007 before missing all of 2008 after undergoing Tommy John surgery. He was terrible in 2009 and traded to the Rangers for Kevin Millwood last offseason.

After appearing in 35 games for the Rangers (with a 2-0 record and 3.41 ERA), he was sent to San Francisco (where he was 3-0 with a 4.13 ERA in 28 appearances) in the Benjie Molina trade.

Ray shares an agent, Mark Pieper, with Koji Uehara, who is taking his physical today in order to re-sign with the Orioles.

In an e-mail with Zrebiec, Ray said, "Baltimore will always be a special place for me and of course I would be interested in returning to the Orioles. I see they have made some nice additions to their lineup already this winter."

Ray's agent said he's heard from several teams, but doesn't expect anything soon.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: December 10, 2010 12:28 pm
 

Orioles offer Gregg 2 years, $8-10M

Even though the Orioles have Koji Uehara back in the fold, they're pursuing free agent Kevin Gregg as a possible closer.

The Baltimore Sun reports that the Orioles have made Gregg a two-year offer worth between $8 million and $10 million. The 32-year-old, who saved 37 games for the Blue Jays last season, also has interest from the Pirates, Mariners, Nationals and Red Sox, according to a report this week from FOXSports.com.

Given Gregg's variety of options, he probably won't go anywhere he's not promised the closer's job. As it stands now Uehara would be Baltimore's closer, but team president Andy McPhail told the Sun the closer's role is up to manager Buck Showalter.

-- David Andriesen

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Posted on: December 8, 2010 10:56 pm
 

Uehara will return to O's

Koji Uehara, a free agent who was getting some attention as a second-tier option in an expensive reliever market, has agreed to return to the Orioles, according to the Baltimore Sun.

No word on the financial terms, but it's a one-year deal with a vesting option, including escalator clauses if he's the Orioles' closer. Uehara, 35, had 13 saves and a 2.86 ERA in 43 appearances last season.

-- David Andriesen

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com