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Orioles could make dominant setup man Koji Uehara available

Jul 19, 2011, 11:51 AM EDT

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Baltimore took care of one potential free agent-to-be by signing shortstop J.J. Hardy to a three-year, $22.5 million extension, but Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun speculates that the Orioles will be shopping setup man Koji Uehara leading up to the July 31 trade deadline.

Uehara has around $1 million remaining on this year’s contract and his deal also includes a $4 million option for 2012 that vests with 55 appearances or 25 games finished. Right now he’s on pace for 70 appearances and 33 games finished, so any team that deals for Uehara would be doing so with an eye on keeping him for next season.

He didn’t draw a ton of interest as a free agent, in part because of injury concerns and in part because of a limited track record as a reliever, but Uehara has been healthy and dominant this year with a 1.88 ERA, .150 opponents’ batting average, and 58/8 K/BB ratio in 44 innings.

Combined with his work out of the bullpen last season and the 36-year-old right-hander now has a 2.35 ERA, .187 opponents’ batting average, and 113/13 K/BB ratio in 88 career innings as a reliever. If the Orioles make him available plenty of contending teams should be very interested.

  1. proudlycanadian - Jul 19, 2011 at 11:54 AM

    Trade him to the Yankees. They have experience with Japanese pitchers.

  2. jeffhink - Jul 19, 2011 at 12:01 PM

    Phils will be in on him if they don’t get/don’t like the price for Bell or Adams.

  3. Panda Claus - Jul 19, 2011 at 12:25 PM

    As an O’s fan I feel like an expert on bad pitching, having seen so much this year. Koji is out of place here being quite efficient and effective when he works. Not much drama with him on the mound, which any fan would appreciate from their late-inning reliever.

    His durability certainly is the biggest question, given his recent history of visits to the DL. However, for a stretch-run rental, he’s easily one of the best values out there.

  4. dailyrev - Jul 19, 2011 at 12:42 PM

    I’d really be interested to know if Markakis were available and on what terms. I think he’d be a perfect fit for the Battlin’ Buccos, hitting between McCutchen and Walker. Markakis is one of those diamonds that is hidden on an ugly team like Baltimore, but I rate him as one of the top 5 or 6 outfielders in the game, especially for his defense. In a better lineup his hitting would be even better than it is. And he’s a quality ballplayer who deserves to play for a team with energy and spirit like the Pirates. And RF is the one big weak spot for the Bucs, so that’s a trade that would make a mega-difference to them.

    • randomdigits - Jul 19, 2011 at 1:05 PM

      Can the Pirates afford his contract?

    • jjschiller - Jul 19, 2011 at 3:59 PM

      Man, how bad are things in Baltimore that uppity Pirates fan’s think their team is “ugly?”

    • rwjk - Jul 20, 2011 at 2:57 AM

      instead of writing a 5000 word essay in reponse to this utterly preposterous comment, i am just going to say hahahaha. you hit the nail on the head jjschiller. things may be “ugly” in baltimore right now, but they will never in a thousand years be as putrid as that team in PITTSburgh. its mid-july…keep dreamin buddy and maybe your team will win 70 games in a season for the first time since the 1800’s.

      p.s. nick markakis isnt going anywhere. we have him inked until 2015

  5. stinkfist5 - Jul 19, 2011 at 1:27 PM

    I hope not. He’s one of our most beloved players. Plus, I wont get any suite tickets from his wife anymore…

  6. trevorb06 - Jul 19, 2011 at 1:51 PM

    Come on Twins! Let’s stop the 8th and 9th inning bleeding!

  7. foreverchipper10 - Jul 19, 2011 at 3:09 PM

    113/13 K/BB in 88 innings is rather impressive. I did not know he had numbers like that.

  8. friedalewis - Jul 20, 2011 at 7:41 AM

    Whatever the reason these printable coupons or “Printapon” exist and it is valid to use them, although it can skew the marketing research for which they were intended.

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