Koji Uehara’s late-season fade didn’t scare off the Red Sox, who’ve re-signed the 40-year-old reliever to a two-year, $18 million contract.
Uehara had a stretch in which he allowed 10 runs in six appearances, but finished the season with three straight scoreless outings and his season totals (2.52 ERA, 80/8 K/BB ratio in 64 innings) were fantastic.
Overall in two seasons with the Red Sox he threw 139 innings with a 1.75 ERA and 181/17 K/BB ratio, which is absolutely incredible. And for his career Uehara has a 2.44 ERA in 350 total innings for three different teams.
Signing a 40-year-old reliever to a multi-year contract is always going to be very risky, but $9 million per season is not out of line for an elite reliever.
In addition to exercising their $9 million option on center fielder Denard Span for next season the Nationals also declined their $15 million option on first baseman Adam LaRoche and their $14 million option on reliever Rafael Soriano.
LaRoche had one of the best seasons of his career, hitting .259 with 26 homers and an .817 OPS in 140 games, but with Ryan Zimmerman likely needing a position change and the outfield set in stone the Nationals no longer had room for him in the lineup at first base. He receives a $2 million buyout.
Soriano had a great first half, saving 22 games with a 0.97 ERA, but he was stripped of closing duties while posting a 6.48 ERA in the second half and was almost left off the playoff roster. He figures to get a one-year deal somewhere and has the secondary numbers to suggest a bounce back.
As expected, the Nationals have exercised their $9 million option on center fielder Denard Span for 2015.
After a disappointing first season in Washington he bounced back to hit .302 with 31 steals and a .771 OPS, leading the league with 184 hits. It was Span’s best season since his first full year in the big leagues with the Twins in 2009.
At age 31 he’ll resume leading off and playing center field for the Nationals in his final season before free agency.
Part of the reason why the Cardinals acquired John Lackey from the Red Sox on July 31 is that his contract included an uncommon $500,000 option for 2015 thanks to his previously missing time following Tommy John elbow surgery.
Today the Cardinals made the no-brainer move of exercising that option, bringing back Lackey for the league minimum salary following a season in which he threw 198 innings with a 3.82 ERA.
Lackey was mediocre after the trade, starting 10 games for St. Louis with a 4.30 ERA and 48/15 K/BB ratio in 61 innings, but the 36-year-old will slot into the middle of the rotation for next season.
Making a roster move the morning after losing the World Series, the Royals traded right-hander Liam Hendriks to the Blue Jays for minor league catcher Santiago Nessy. Hendriks pitched for Toronto briefly this season before being traded to Kansac City along with catcher Erik Kratz for infielder Danny Valencia. They apparently want another look at him.
Hendriks was the Twins’ minor league pitcher of the year in 2011 and has always posted strong numbers in the minors, but he’s been knocked around for a 3-15 record and 5.92 ERA in 189 innings as a big leaguer.
Hendriks’ raw stuff is underwhelming and he’s also a fly-ball pitcher, but he’s still just 25 years old and a 3.19 ERA in nearly 400 innings at Triple-A suggest he could be a decent back-of-the-rotation starter.
Nessy is a 21-year-old who’s yet to advance past Single-A, hitting .231 with one homer and a .645 OPS in 69 games this season.