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 Kansas City Star has covered the death of Yordano Ventura and its aftermath in a thorough, thoughtful, respectful and admirable fashion and it has all been compelling to read, even if it’s often been difficult to read. Their latest story may be the most difficult, though it is nonetheless essential.
It covers the final year of Ventura’s life which, sadly, was tumultuous. He had become estranged from his family. He was married to a woman who, at the time of the ceremony, was still married to her first husband and whose family, allegedly, later made threats against Ventura that we’re only now learning about. This includes allegations of armed men accosting Ventura at his home near the Royals spring training facility a year ago. An incident which led to him missing time due to “flulike symptoms,” but which, in reality, caused him considerable mental distress. He was again threatened, it is claimed, in Kansas City during the season. There is also an allegation that Ventura attempted suicide via an overdose of Benadryl, though that is disputed.
Beyond that, there is an arc to the end of Ventura’s life which sounds unfortunately familiar. It’s a story of a young man whose life changed dramatically in a very, very short period of time and who struggled at times to process the changes. Were it not for a fateful drive on a dark and winding road one night in late January, they all could’ve been things that, as his career matured, he could look back on as learning experiences. Now that he’s gone, however, they form the final, tragic chapter.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Royals and first baseman Eric Hosmer have discussed a long-term contract extension. However, Hosmer also indicated that he will head into free agency if a deal is not consummated by Opening Day.
Hosmer, 27, avoided arbitration with the Royals last month, agreeing to a $12.25 million salary for the 2017 season. He is one of four key Royals players who can become a free agent after the season along with Mike Moustakas, Alcides Escobar, and Lorenzo Cain. If Hosmer does reach free agency, he would arguably be the top free agent first baseman.
Hosmer finished the past season hitting .266/.328/.433 with 25 home runs and 104 RBI while making his first All-Star team.