Koji Uehara blocked a trade to Toronto because “the weather is an issue”

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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.

Fried, Braves go to salary arbitration for 2nd straight year

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Brett Davis/USA TODAY Sports
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Pitcher Max Fried went to salary arbitration with the Atlanta Braves for the second straight year, asking for $15 million instead of the team’s $13.5 million offer.

The 29-year-old left-hander went 14-7 for the second straight season and lowered his ERA to 2.48 from 3.04 in 2021. Fried was a first-time All-Star last season, was second to Miami’s Sandy Alcantara in Cy Young Award voting and was third in the National League in ERA behind Alcantara and Julio Urias with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Fried won a $6.85 million salary last year instead of the team’s $6.6 million proposal in arbitration. That was after he pitched six shutout innings in World Series Game 6 as the Braves won their first title since 1995.

Fried, who is eligible for free agency after the 2024 World Series, had his case heard Friday by a panel that’s expected to issue a decision Saturday.

Players have won two of three decisions so far: Pitcher Jesus Luzardo ($2.45 million) and AL batting champion Luis Arraez ($6.1 million) both beat the Miami Marlins. But Seattle defeated Diego Castillo ($2.95 million).

A decision is being held for Los Angeles Angels outfielder Hunter Renfroe, whose case was argued Monday. About 20 more cases are scheduled through Feb. 17.