Orioles considering reunion with setup man Koji Uehara

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The Orioles had one of the best bullpens in the major leagues this year, compiling a fifth-ranked 3.00 ERA.

But they’re still thinking about making some pretty significant upgrades to it this winter via free agency.

According to Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun, the O’s have interest in a reunion with setup man Koji Uehara, who was traded away to the Rangers in mid-2011 and spent the entire 2012 season in Texas. “He’s on our list, we like him,” said Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette. “He’s been here before.”

Uehara, 37, posted a 1.75 ERA, 0.64 WHIP and 43/3 K/BB ratio in 36 innings this past year.

The Orioles are also known to have serious interest in free agent right-hander Kameron Loe, who spent the 2012 season with Milwaukee, and highly-coveted Japanese free agent reliever Kyuji Fujikawa.

Royals sign Michael Saunders to a minor-league deal

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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.