UPDATE: Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun now writes that the Orioles will receive Chris Davis and right-hander Tommy Hunter in exchange for Uehara. They’ll also send some cash the Rangers’ way. That’s a pretty good get considering Uehara was of little use on a losing team.
5:20 PM: Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun reports that the Orioles are close to trading Koji Uehara to the Rangers. And according to his colleague Dan Connolly, the Orioles will receive Chris Davis in return.
Uehara, 36, has thrived as a reliever over the past two seasons, posting a 2.27 ERA and 117/13 K/BB ratio over 91 innings. He has a 1.72 ERA and 0.70 (!) WHIP over 47 innings this season. The Japanese right-hander is making $3 million this season and has a $4 million vesting option that kicks in once he reaches 55 appearances. He has already made 43 appearances this season, so he’s a near-lock to get there if he stays healthy.
Davis has a .248 batting average and 301 strikeouts over 878 major league at-bats, but still possesses some potential as a power bat. The 25-year-old has a 1.006 OPS over 975 plate appearances in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League. He could very well be a Quad-A bat in the long run, but he has nothing left to prove in the minor leagues. Baltimore would seem to be a good place for him to get an extended look against major league pitching, though Davis and Mark Reynolds in the same lineup could make for some easy outs.
Hunter, 25, has pitched exclusively in relief this season after getting a late start due to a groin injury. He was 13-4 with a 3.73 ERA over 22 starts and one relief appearance last season, so he offers the Orioles some flexibility.
“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.
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.