Two weeks ago Baltimore declined to offer arbitration to Koji Uehara because it would have meant committing to a raise on his $5 million salary, but the Orioles have now re-signed the 35-year-old reliever to a one-year deal with a vesting option for 2012.
According to Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun the new deal includes $3 million in guarantee money and another $2 million or so in possible incentives.
Uehara reportedly drew interest from a half-dozen teams as a free agent, so by not offering arbitration the Orioles risked losing him without receiving a compensatory draft pick in return, but the move ultimately worked out well as they lowered the upfront money and also potentially secured his rights for 2012.
Uehara struggled to stay healthy as a starter, but transitioned to the bullpen full time this year and thrived with a 2.86 ERA, .220 opponents’ batting average, and 55-to-5 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 44 innings. He converted 13 saves in 15 chances and will likely enter 2011 as the favorite to claim closer duties.
Former Tigers infielder Casey McGehee has reportedly signed a one-year deal with the Yomiuri Giants of Nippon Professional Baseball, according to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal.
It’s the fourth move the corner infielder has made in the last two seasons after seeing short-term stints with the Marlins, Giants and Tigers. He signed a minor league deal with the Tigers prior to the 2016 season, providing the club with some infield depth behind 24-year-old Nick Castellanos. When Castellanos hit the disabled list in August with a broken hand, McGehee was recalled from Triple-A Toledo for a 30-game stint and slashed .228/.260/.239 with one extra-base hit in 96 PA. His career batting line (.258/.317/.384 over eight seasons) isn’t too shabby, but his age and a long history of knee injuries puts a damper on his potential.
McGehee last appeared in the NPB circuit in 2013, when he signed a one-year, $1.5 million deal with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles. He spent the bulk of his season at the hot corner, batting an impressive .292/.396/.515 with 28 homers in 590 PA and appearing in the Eagles’ first and only championship run to date.
The deal comes with a club option for 2018, Rosenthal reports, though no figure has been specified.
Free agent left-hander Rich Hill is rumored to be entertaining a three-year, $40+ million offer from the Dodgers, reports Peter Gammons. The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo corroborated the report, adding that Hill could receive somewhere between $46 and $48 million from his former team.
Hill, 36, pitched to a 2.12 ERA and 3.91 FIP in back-to-back stints with the Athletics and Dodgers in 2016. While a chronic case of blisters on his pitching hand limited the frequency of his starts, he still figures to be one of the most productive and noteworthy starting pitchers on the market this winter.
The Orioles, Yankees, Red Sox, Rangers and Astros have all been mentioned as potential suitors for the left-hander’s services, though Orioles’ GM Dan Duquette said the club has yet to make a play for Hill and ESPN’s Jim Bowden pointed out that the Red Sox are less involved in trade talks than other interested parties.