GM: Rangers no longer likely to trade Koji Uehara

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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.

Tommy La Stella talks about his refusal to report to the minors in 2016

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In late July of 2016, Cubs infielder Tommy La Stella was demoted to Triple-A. It wasn’t personal. It was a roster crunch situation and La Stella had options left so, despite the fact that he had been an effective player to that point of the season, it made sense to send him down.

La Stella didn’t take the demotion well. In fact he refused to report to Iowa and went home to New Jersey instead. It was not until August 17 that he finally reported and then only after prolonged discussions with the Cubs and the assurance that he’d be back in the majors once rosters opened up. Which he was, after spending just over a week down on the farm.

Such a move by a player would, normally speaking, make him persona non-grata. His teammates would shun him and the organization would, eventually, cut bait, with the press characterizing him as a me-first player as he walked out the door. That did not happen with La Stella, however, who remains with the Cubs two years later and, by all accounts, is a popular and important guy in the Cubs’ clubhouse, even if he’s not one of the team’s big stars.

Today Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic has an in-depth story about La Stella, what went down in 2016 and how he and the Cubs have proceeded since then. The story is subscription only, but the short version is that there was a lot of understanding and empathy on the part of the Cubs organization and their players about what was going on in La Stella’s head at the time and how everyone allowed everyone else the space to work through it.

I’m happy to read this story, because all too often we only hear about such incidents as they occur, with little followup. To the extent the story is told, most of the time its completely one-sided, with the player who acts out being treated like a bad seed with little if any explanation of his side of things. And, yes, there are always two sides to the story. Sometimes even more.

Kudos to Rosenthal for telling this story. Here’s hoping the next time a player is involved in a controversy that, in the moment, makes him appear to be a bad seed or have a bad attitude, we hear more about it then too.