Koji Uehara trade rumors swirled for most of the offseason and at one point the reliever vetoed an agreed-upon trade to Toronto, but Texas general manager Jon Daniels no longer expects to deal him.
Daniels told T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com that the Rangers “have no moves planned or anything like that” and “are ready to go with this group of guys.”
As recently as last week the A’s were said to be close to acquiring Uehara, but apparently those talks have cooled. Uehara has stated that he’d prefer a return to Baltimore, but the Orioles’ interest in paying the price to bring him back has been unclear after getting Tommy Hunter and Chris Davis for him last July.
There’s no harm in keeping Uehara, of course, although it seemed fairly obvious almost immediately that the Rangers soured on him and he fell totally out of favor in the playoffs. Still, he’s reasonably priced at $4 million this season and posted a 2.56 ERA and 140/14 K/BB ratio in 109 innings since moving to the bullpen in 2010.
Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports that the Blue Jays and third baseman Josh Donaldson are tabling extension talks as the two sides weren’t able to build any momentum towards agreement on a new contract.
Donaldson said, “We’re not quite there. That, to me, right now is not the major focus and I’m turning the page.” He added, “I want to play this season and really focus on winning games because, ultimately, our goal is to win a World Series and I don’t want to hinder that at all.” Donaldson also said he expects to hit free agency.
The 32-year-old avoided arbitration with the Blue Jays last month, agreeing on a $23 million salary for the 2018 season. He’s a free agent at season’s end. Last year, the three-time All-Star hit .270/.385/.559 with 33 home runs, 78 RBI, and 65 runs scored in 496 plate appearances. Donaldson missed six weeks in the first half with a calf injury, but was able to return and post terrific numbers, so his health — at least that aspect of it — shouldn’t be a concern going into spring training.
If Donaldson does reach free agency, he’ll join a star-studded group that will likely also include Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Charlie Blackmon, and A.J. Pollock.