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O's and Uehara agree to deal


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What's the point of having 3 or 4 great relievers in the bullpen if they never have close games to enter? If the O's front office believes Uehara will be effective as a starter and a reliever, they will put him in the rotation. Sure, if we get to May and he's having problems starting every 5 days, then we can send him to the bullpen, but that's not something we should do to begin with.

I never suggested that. I am just steeling myself for what might be an eventuality.

As a side note, a major player from the Yomuri Giants would (I think) bring a large contingent of Japanese reporters to Camden Yards. I wonder what we'll see?

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Very possible that in 2010 Uehara's contract will be one that we want moved just like we want Mora, Walker, Baez, and Gibbons off for 2010.

If we aren't going to contend, the thought it, why tie up money in average to slightly above average players who aren't part of our future when we aren't going to be contending?

Although the Japanese factor is a huge plus, that can't be denied.

Well, like I said, it depends on how much we're talking about here. Yeah, if he's bad, we'd want to dump him, but as I said in my last post, if he's good, we can trade him or turn him into picks, it will also be good for the pen to have someone who can provide consistent innings(not saying he can definitely do this), and his control will be good to have.

I don't think there are 4 young starters that I would like to start from the get go this coming season, so to me, there had to be someone added, and he's a solid option for that. It also gives the team more flexibility in terms of possibly trading Guthrie and some relievers.

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From an earlier article on ESPN:

Uehara, his longtime Central League rival, is a different puzzle altogether. He has a good fastball and a superb splitter and throws a decent slider that used to be very good. The Giants ace will get major league hitters out, provided he maintains his focus.

Uehara, who has a career 112-61 record with a 3.01 ERA and is a two-time winner of the Sawamura Award (for Japan's best starting pitcher), drifted through the 2008 season in unpredictable spasms.

He set the Giants' save record (32) in 2007, when leg injuries curtailed his fitness. He returned to the rotation for the 2008 season but was sent to the minors after stinking up five straight starts.

Although no injury was reported, he remained on the farm team until the end of June. Put back in the bullpen, he was ineffective until he was surprisingly named to Japan's Olympic squad.

[+] EnlargeJunko Kimura/Getty Images

Koji Uehara is a two-time winner of the Sawamura Award -- Japan's version of the Cy Young. His turnaround was instantaneous. After half a season of falling behind hitters and walking them or getting hit hard, Uehara began locating his fastball. The walks stopped, the strikeouts increased and it was business as usual.

Uehara rejoined the rotation after some solid games in Beijing and was good enough to help the Giants complete a historic comeback in the pennant race.

"He's really solid for two innings," Brown said.

But the ease with which Uehara suddenly switched on his effectiveness makes one wonder why Uehara couldn't solve his riddle before he was named to the Olympic team.

One explanation is that he might have been playing hurt early in the year with the groin and leg problems that have dogged him in recent seasons. Although Uehara ran track in high school (because his school didn't have a baseball team), he has developed a reputation as a player who doesn't like to run and whose conditioning is suspect.

Ojimi, however, believes Uehara will be more motivated from now on.

"He's wanted to pitch in the majors for many years," Ojimi said. "So I think you'll see a different Uehara."

Uehara said he was offered a deal with the Angels in 1998 but gave up when Anaheim would not promise to use him at the major league level.

Although he was the best pitcher in Japan as a rookie in 1999, nagging injuries have curtailed his mound time.

Several years ago, Uehara broke with decorum by publicly asking the ultra-conservative Giants to post him. This past spring, when he had completed the service time necessary to file for free agency, he could have said what players routinely say: "I only want to concentrate on the pennant race; I'll consider free agency when the season's over."

Instead, Uehara said his playing days in Japan would end with his current contract. His 2008 season, however, went into free fall until he found himself banished to the minors.


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Keith Law ranked Uehara the 22nd FA, here is what he wrote about him.

In an ideal environment -- National League, non-hitters' park -- he could be a midrotation innings-eater because he'll allow so few baserunners. In the American League, he'd be more of a fourth starter, but would have to have some luck keeping the ball in the park to keep his ERA under 4.00.

So a 4th starter for us by Laws estimation, I agree, however a 4th starter on most AL teams is a number 2 for us right now.

Its gonna be so nice seeing a guy go out and make hitters actually hit the ball to get on base.

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The Mariners soured on Johjima? They gave him a multi-year deal for $5 million a year just last season...

That was the Japanese ownership looking out for a Japanese player, or something like that.

"Kenji Johjima's three-year, $24MM extension was mandated by Japanese ownership. Johjima has an opt-out clause after the '09 season, but only in the event of a serious family issue. The extension looks like a sunk cost for Seattle before it even begins. "


I've heard it other places as well.

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It's probably not a huge personnel move - as he's likely a stop-gap starter - but hopefully this opens up international doors for the O's. Glad to have him aboard, though I think some posters are over-reacting... just a tad. :scratchchinhmm:

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It's probably not a huge personnel move - as he's likely a stop-gap starter - but hopefully this opens up international doors for the O's. Glad to have him aboard, though I think some posters are over-reacting... just a tad. :scratchchinhmm:

WHAT!? :eek:

This guy can throw strikes, and will be our #2 starter for now! :boogie:

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Looks like yet another feather in AM's hat. Spring Training will be fun for Roch and all the japanese reporters hanging out. This is very nice. B'more will love this guy. I can't wait for Amber to get a hold of him for an interview.

I wonder what the team needs to do to smooth his transition. Staff interpreter I would think, a little cultural education for the other guys, food in the clubhouse issues, teaching Wieters how to speak japanese:), teaching DT how to bow to his pitcher before removing him, and a japanese catcher might be good for both him and the fact that Wieters will probably start in AAA.

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