For now at least Koji Uehara remains with the Rangers, but he seems destined to be traded before Opening Day and has already blocked a potential deal that would have sent him to the Blue Jays.
T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com asked Uehara why he vetoed a move to Toronto and the 36-year-old reliever replied:
The weather is an issue. I also know how hard it is to compete in that division.
Uehara is certainly right about the AL East being incredibly difficult, but the fact that he’s reportedly been pushing for a trade that would return him to Baltimore–where he played from 2009 to mid-2011–makes it clear that wouldn’t hold up a trade. Which leaves … well, the weather. I’ve been to Toronto in the summer and it was perfectly lovely with a retractable roof on the ballpark, so that seems a little flimsy to say the least, but the Blue Jays were one of six teams on his no-trade list.
Sullivan speculates that once the Rangers unload Uehara’s $4 million salary they could use that money and the bullpen spot to re-sign left-hander Michael Gonzalez. As for which teams are in the mix for Uehara, the A’s were said to be close to a deal for him last week and Sullivan says the Orioles are still a possibility.
The Yankees interviewed Aaron Boone for their managerial vacancy on Friday, and today it was Chris Woodward’s turn. That makes at least five interviews since the offseason began, and Woodward’s likely won’t be the last.
Like fellow candidate Eric Wedge, whom the Yankees interviewed just last week, Woodward has never played or coached for the club. He spent the majority of his 12-year career with the Blue Jays and picked up brief stints with the Mets, Braves, Mariners and Red Sox before returning to Toronto for his final season in 2011. Following retirement, he served as the Mariners’ minor league infield coordinator and infield and first base coach from 2012-2015. During the 2015 offseason, he jumped over to the National League to work with the Dodgers as a third base coach, and saw his first postseason run since the Mets lost to the Dodgers in the 2006 NLDS.
While Woodward has yet to manage at the major league level, he was named manager of the New Zealand national team during the 2017 World Baseball Classic qualifiers. It’s certainly conceivable that the Yankees would prefer a candidate with significant experience leading a major league team, but right now the only person who fits that bill is Eric Wedge — and, well, it’s Eric Wedge.