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Koji Uehara drawing interest from Rangers, Twins, Tigers, and Pirates

Jul 25, 2011, 12:16 PM EDT

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According to Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun “there’s growing speculation that Koji Uehara will be moved before the July 31 trade deadline” and the Rangers, Twins, Tigers, and Pirates are among the teams to express interest in the Orioles reliever.

Uehara has quietly been one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball since moving to the bullpen full time last season. He was a solid but injury prone mid-rotation starter, but as a reliever he has a 2.35 ERA and ridiculous 113/13 K/BB ratio in 88 innings while holding opponents to a .187 batting average.

It doesn’t get much better than that and sure enough his 2.51 xFIP since the beginning of last season ranks third among all relievers with at least 80 innings. Uehara isn’t a household name and as a 36-year-old with injury baggage he’d come with some risk, but if healthy he’s an elite reliever and has a reasonable $4 million option for 2012.

Connolly writes that the Orioles “are looking for major league-ready starting pitching” in return.

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