Orioles likely to let Koji Uehara walk despite relief success

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Koji Uehara has struggled to stay off the disabled list in two years with the Orioles, but the 35-year-old right-hander thrived after moving to the bullpen full time this season with a 2.86 ERA and 55/5 K/BB ratio in 44 innings.

He converted 13-of-15 save opportunities, held opponents to a .220 batting average, finished the season with 32 straight walk-less appearances, and had the best strikeout-to-walk ratio in the entire league among pitchers with 40-plus innings, ahead of even Cliff Lee.

However, according to Steve Melewski of MASNSports.com “the Orioles haven’t made much of an attempt to re-sign him.” Because of his age and injury history Uehara is definitely a risk, but if the Orioles let him walk my guess is several contenders would line up for the chance to give him an incentive-laden one-year contract as a setup man.

Imagining Theo Epstein in politics

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“When Alexander saw the breadth of his domain, he wept for there were no more worlds to conquer.”

Or: “When Theo Epstein won World Series championships with the two most championship-starved franchises in baseball history, he got bored, and decided to run for the Senate or something.”

That latter bit is the premise of a Politico piece speculating that the Cubs president could go into politics one day. The story features an interview with former Obama chief strategist David Axlerod, who thinks Theo has what it takes. Mostly what he has is fame, popularity, good looks and money. No idea what his positions on issue are, but that other stuff goes a long way in politics these days.

Bonus: given what we just elected last fall, a guy who once had a little temper tantrum and dressed up in a gorilla suit is just as viable a candidate as anyone.

Another interestingly named player is promoted by the Pirates

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When you promote a player from the minors, the first and foremost consideration is whether or not he can help your ball club. But, assuming that’s taken care of, teams should really, really make it a priority to call up dudes with cool sounding names because it makes life more interesting for the rest of us.

The Pirates are doing that. The other night Dovydas Neverauskas made his big league debut. In addition to being the first Lithuanian born-and-raised player in major league history, it’s a solid, solid name. Now the Pirates are making another promotion: Gift Ngoepe.

Yep, Gift Ngoepe. He’s an infielder from South Africa, making the leap to the bigs due to David Freese‘s hamstring injury. Ngoepe, 27, was batting just .241/.308/.379 through 66 plate appearances this season with Triple-A Indianapolis, his ninth in the minors, so he’s not exactly a prospect. But man, that’s a killer name.

It’s also worth mentioning that Gift and Neverauskas were arrested together in a bar fight last August in Toledo, so there is already a good basis for some bonding here.

Good luck, Gift. Gift Ngoepe. Mr. Ngoepe. G-Ngo. Man, I could do this all day.