Two weeks ago the Orioles declined to offer arbitration to Koji Uehara, but Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reports that they’re now interested in re-signing the 36-year-old reliever. And they have plenty of company.
According to Connolly at least six teams have expressed interest in Uehara, with the Orioles being joined by the Twins, Red Sox, Mariners, Brewers, and Cardinals.
Connolly speculates that the Orioles could have the edge if they offer Uehara a chance to close again after he saved 13 games in 15 chances this year, but Baltimore is unlikely to offer him a multi-year contract and another team may step up with a two-year deal.
He couldn’t stay healthy as a starter, but Uehara was amazingly good after shifting to the bullpen with a 2.86 ERA, .220 opponents’ batting average, and 55/5 K/BB ratio in 44 innings, including an absurd 45/2 K/BB ratio in the second half.
With Giancarlo Stanton and Marcell Ozuna gone, the next logical step for the Marlins would be to trade away Christian Yelich. He’s be an amazingly attractive trade candidate given that he is under team control through 2022, and is owed a very reasonable $58 million or so. He just turned 26 last week and has hit .290/.369/.432 in his five year career. That’s the kind of player and contract that could bring back a mess of prospects.
Except the Marlins, it seems, don’t want to do that. Multiple reports have come out in the last hour saying that the Marlins intend to hold on to Yelich and to build around him.
That could be a negotiating ploy, of course. They’ll no doubt listen to offers and, if the right one comes along, they’d certainly give strong consideration to trading him. A good deal is a good deal.
The only question, in light of the events of the last week, is whether the Marlins would know a good deal if they saw one.