I was always a fan of Koji Uehara when he was with the Orioles. And then he shed a few tears when he got traded to Texas and I became a huge fan.
Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reports that the Baltimore Orioles are most definitely interested in a reunion with Koji Uehara. “He’s on our list, we like him,” Dan Duquette said. “He’s been here before.”
Indeed he has.
Uehara spent his rookie season in 2009 as a starting pitching in 12 games with a 4.05 ERA, 1.245 WHIP and a 48/12 K/BB over 66.2 innings. However, he saw a great improvement in his numbers when he moved to the bullpen. In 2010 he appeared in 43 games, posted a 2.86 ERA, 0.955 WHIP and 55/5 K/BB ratio. 2011 with the O’s was even better — 1.72 ERA, 0.702 WHIP, 62/8 K/BB in 43 appearances before being dealt to the Rangers.
He’s lights out against right handed hitters, with a career .206 opponents batting average, 113/11 K/BB and .258 BABIP. At age 37, Uehara will likely only get a contract for the upcoming 2013 season — and as Andy MacPhail used to say “there’s no such thing as a bad one-year deal.”
If the Orioles did bring in Koji to their already stacked bullpen, I wonder if they would trade Jim Johnson. In my opinion, closers are always overvalued and after leading the league in saves, his stock will never be higher.
By the end of last year a number candidates stood out to pitch the final three outs. Tommy Hunter was throwing 100 miles per hour, Darren O’Day had solidified the 8th inning role in the postseason and Brian Matusz turned into a lights out lefty specialist. If Johnson could bring back something big in return, perhaps he gets dealt.
Connolly adds that the O’s are also interested in Kameron Lowe and Japanese reliever Kyuji Fujikawa.