From FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal comes word that the A’s are among the teams considering a trade for Rangers setup man Koji Uehara. The Orioles have also been identified as a potential suitor.
Uehara posted an uninspiring 4.00 ERA in 18 innings for the Rangers last season after joining the team in a late-July trade from Baltimore. He also surrendered five earned runs on five hits in three postseason relief appearances. Texas would like to get rid of his $4 million salary and maybe score a prospect in return.
Uehara has a stellar 3.13 career ERA, 9.6 K/9 and 1.3 BB/9 since debuting as a big leaguer in 2009. A’s GM Billy Beane is likely viewing the 36-year-old right-hander as potentially attractive mid-season trade bait.
Free agent outfielder Michael Saunders has agreed to a minor-league contract with the Royals, the team announced Friday. While the move comes just two days after Saunders agreed to terms with the Pirates, he allegedly asked for his release after the club acquired outfielder Corey Dickerson in a multi-player swap with the Rays on Thursday. MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan adds that Saunders will make $1.5 million upon reaching the majors, with a potential $500,000 in bonuses.
After earning his first spot on an All-Star team in 2016, Saunders followed up a solid campaign with a career-worst performance in 2017. The 31-year-old split the season between the Phillies and Blue Jays’ camps, batting a combined .202/.256/.344 with six home runs and -0.7 fWAR in 234 plate appearances. Although he remained healthy throughout the year, with no sign of the lingering hamstring strain that has plagued him on and off since 2013, he wasn’t productive enough to merit a full-time role on either roster.
With Dickerson slated for a starting role in Pittsburgh, it was unlikely that Saunders would have commanded anything other than a backup role in 2018. Now, however, he’ll compete for playing time amid a slew of outfield options, including Alex Gordon, Cody Asche, Jorge Bonifacio, Tyler Collins and Paulo Orlando.