Friday, February 17, 2012
Could Koji Uehara stay in AL West?
By Richard Durrett
The Rangers continue to shop reliever Koji Uehara and are discussing a trade with the Oakland A's, a source confirmed on Friday. The A's aren't the only team the club is talking to about the reliever.
Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said Sunday that the team was "a tick over" its player salary budget, but acknowledged they could get creative if they wanted to make some alterations.
The club has shown interest in free agent starter Roy Oswalt, but they don't want to push Matt Harrison out of the rotation to make room for Oswalt to start. They're interested in Oswalt, who has had back issues recently and was limited some last year, if he would take a bullpen role and be an insurance policy for the rotation. Uehara is slated to make $4 million this season, so unloading him would allow the Rangers to free up some room for someone else, possibly Oswalt if he's willing to alter his stance about starting.
Uehara, who turns 37 on April 3, vested his 2012 option last year by appearing in at least 55 games (he ended up appearing in 65). He was one of the top relievers on the market at the trade deadline and the Rangers sent RHP Tommy Hunter and 1B Chris Davis to Baltimore to acquire him. But Uehara struggled after the trade, going 1-2 with a 4.00 ERA in 18 innings (22 games). He allowed five earned runs in 1 1/3 playoff innings in the ALDS and ALCS and was not put on the World Series roster.
Uehara has a limited no-trade clause that includes six teams. One of those was the Toronto Blue Jays and Uehara rejected a deal there in late January.