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Koji Uehara blocked a trade to Toronto because “the weather is an issue”

Feb 20, 2012, 10:15 AM EDT

uehara rangers getty Getty Images

For now at least Koji Uehara remains with the Rangers, but he seems destined to be traded before Opening Day and has already blocked a potential deal that would have sent him to the Blue Jays.

T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com asked Uehara why he vetoed a move to Toronto and the 36-year-old reliever replied:

The weather is an issue. I also know how hard it is to compete in that division.

Uehara is certainly right about the AL East being incredibly difficult, but the fact that he’s reportedly been pushing for a trade that would return him to Baltimore–where he played from 2009 to mid-2011–makes it clear that wouldn’t hold up a trade. Which leaves … well, the weather. I’ve been to Toronto in the summer and it was perfectly lovely with a retractable roof on the ballpark, so that seems a little flimsy to say the least, but the Blue Jays were one of six teams on his no-trade list.

Sullivan speculates that once the Rangers unload Uehara’s $4 million salary they could use that money and the bullpen spot to re-sign left-hander Michael Gonzalez. As for which teams are in the mix for Uehara, the A’s were said to be close to a deal for him last week and Sullivan says the Orioles are still a possibility.

  1. dondada10 - Feb 20, 2012 at 10:25 AM

    The weather? Huh. Odd consider he had to have made several trips there as an Oriole. Besides, Toronto is a beautiful city.

    I’m pleading ignorance here: is there any effect on salary when the player is in Canada? I honestly don’t know.

    • proudlycanadian - Feb 20, 2012 at 10:32 AM

      None. He would still be paid in US dollars; however, the Canadian currency is now slightly higher than the US dollar. After tax, he would be better off in Texas; however, taxes in Toronto now compare quite well with most ML cities.

      • dondada10 - Feb 20, 2012 at 10:42 AM

        Interesting. Thank you.

      • Old Gator - Feb 20, 2012 at 12:15 PM

        He’s worried about the Canadian weather in the summer????

        Or maybe I’m just getting old
        ‘Cause fuck I hate the cold….
        – Cowboy Junkies

        And with the possible exceptions of New York and Chicago, the deli in Toronto is vastly superior to the deli in most ML cities, too. You’re not going to find a top-notch cabbage borscht in the tropics, Koji.

  2. proudlycanadian - Feb 20, 2012 at 10:28 AM

    Toronto also has a retractable roof. The weather is better here than inland cities such as Chicago which are farther north.

    • paperlions - Feb 20, 2012 at 10:35 AM

      Well, that’s just stupid….everyone knows Canada is farther north than the US. :-P

      The weather during baseball season is far better in Toronto than in Dallas, ignoring game conditions as I am assuming he is more concerned about weather in general and how it affects life.

      • proudlycanadian - Feb 20, 2012 at 10:44 AM

        Look at the map.

      • paperlions - Feb 20, 2012 at 10:48 AM

        I was being ironic, making fun of the geographic ignorance of the vast majority of US citizens.

      • cur68 - Feb 20, 2012 at 12:26 PM

        re. maps: Well, until we get a ‘humour’ font this is gonna keep happening, isn’t it fellas? Actually, I wonder if Koji’s comments shouldn’t have been published in this font? Quite frankly, I have no idea what this mythical “weather issue” is that he’s talking about. What kind of weather is there in a domed stadium? A Beer Breath Low Pressure System? His comment makes no sense, except as some sort of humour or failed irony. What I think he’s really afraid of is ‘park effects’, not weather. Given that he’s in Arlington, where free baseballs are served into the stands by pitchers on a regular basis (courtesy of their stuff being popped into the jet-streams that call little Arlington Stadium home) I would think he’d want out of Arlington for a more pitcher friendly park. Skydome isn’t much of an upgrade in that respect. Now that would make sense…more sense than weather (*eye roll*)…

      • Old Gator - Feb 20, 2012 at 3:39 PM

        Cur: it depends on the dome. The dome of the Tropicana Dump, for instance, strongly resembles either a wart (when seen from an airliner taking off to the west from TPA), or it can resemble the lid of a cesspool to a roach when seen from within the gunite sarcophagus that it crowns. This won’t give you pneumonia, which seems to be what Koji fears, but it will cause depression in the uninitiated or the sober.

      • Panda Claus - Feb 20, 2012 at 4:06 PM

        Latitudinally speaking, Toronto is the Key West of Canada.

  3. rollinghighwayblues - Feb 20, 2012 at 10:50 AM

    Ive never been to Toronto or any Canadian city for that matter, but something tells me that Toronto summers aren’t near as awful as they are in Texas.

  4. Jonny 5 - Feb 20, 2012 at 10:59 AM

    He’s got a point. It’s not as fun driving one of these in Canada. Isn’t that right Roy?

    http://mobilwi.typepad.com/.a/6a0120a6dde087970b016301b64771970d-pi

    http://mobilwi.typepad.com/.a/6a0120a6dde087970b0163019c34a4970d-pi

  5. Jonny 5 - Feb 20, 2012 at 11:25 AM

    Just to shed some speculative light here. Canada isn’t known as a “good country” to many Japanese. I know the US wasn’t one to model from during WW2, but Canada may have been even worse to their Japanese citizens.

  6. WhenMattStairsIsKing - Feb 20, 2012 at 12:15 PM

    So, part of the reason he didn’t want to be in Toronto is because it would be too hard. I’m sorry, but hearing that from a professional athlete is pathetic. Have some confidence.

  7. 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Feb 20, 2012 at 12:59 PM

    @Jonny 5: that’s a ridiculous thing to speculate. Both countries interned their Japanese citizens, neither was better or worse than the other. Plus Toronto is one of the most multicultural cities in North America, maybe in the world.

    • Jonny 5 - Feb 20, 2012 at 1:29 PM

      Canada went a bit further than just interring the Japanese immigrants and Canadian citizens of Japanese heritage.

      http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com/articles/japanese-canadians

  8. cup0pizza - Feb 20, 2012 at 1:28 PM

    Uehara pulling the old Lauren Pronger excuse. “Too cold!”

  9. randygnyc - Feb 20, 2012 at 1:33 PM

    I don’t think it has to do with the competition. He has been insisting he be traded into the AL east, after all. So it clearly has something to do with the country (doubtful) or the organization. Perhaps there are people there, maybe the manager, he won’t play for or with?

    • WhenMattStairsIsKing - Feb 20, 2012 at 1:54 PM

      “I also know how hard it is to compete in that division.” ~ He does want to go back to Baltimore, so homeboy confuses me.

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