Rangers to acquire Koji Uehara from Orioles for Chris Davis and Tommy Hunter


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.

Jharel Cotton to undergo Tommy John surgery

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Athletics right-hander Jharel Cotton will undergo Tommy John surgery, per an announcement on Saturday. Cotton initially experienced some elbow soreness during a Cactus League start earlier this week and was officially diagnosed with a strained ulnar collateral ligament and strained flexor muscle on Thursday. He’ll be out of commission until 2019 at the earliest.

This isn’t the first time Cotton has dealt with elbow issues. According to MLB.com’s Jane Lee, he had screws inserted in his right elbow after sustaining a stress fracture in 2013 and suffered some minor elbow discomfort again last fall. Prior to his diagnosis, the 26-year-old was poised for his third run with the A’s in 2018. He pitched his first full season with the club in 2017, turning in a 5.58 ERA, 3.7 BB/9 and 7.3 SO/9 in 24 starts and 129 innings.

Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle adds that the team is open to adding pitching depth this spring, though they’ll wait to see if the price goes down on some free agents first. Barring that, right-handed long reliever Andrew Triggs could be tabbed to fill the fifth spot in the rotation.