The Orioles have resigned Koji Uehara to a 1 year deal with a vesting option.
I’ve been on the O’s for not offering arbitration to Uehara (and running the risk of A) Not getting him to return, and B) Not gaining a compensatory pick if he did leave) but with this signing, you have to give the O’s Front Office credit for their decision making. The FO made a calculated decision to not offer arbitration, and likely got Uehara back for less money than they otherwise would have.
I’m very excited about Uehara’s return. While it is almost a given that Uehara will again spend time on the DL in 2011, the odds are even better that he will show plus control when he does take the mound.
A lot of people seemed to sour on him when he blew the two September games to NY on homers to Swisher, and ARod. If anything, I appreciated him more. He does not beat himself with walks, which I love. He attacks, and tells the opposition, “You have to beat me.”
He had been a Closer in Japan the last few years of his career there, which led many of us to wanting him put in that role here. He originally signed with Baltimore because the Orioles were giving him the opportunity to start. When he was asked to go to the ‘pen last-year I worried that he might be resentful, and the O’s could lose face in Japan. Instead Uehara seemed to enjoy the opportunity.
He missed all of April, and basically all of May and June as well. After the All-Star break, he put up the following numbers: 33 games, 35 ip, 26 hits, 5 bb’s, 45 k’s, 5 homers, .200 baa, (.594 OPS for the season) That is excellent production.
Uehara is a joy to watch pitch, because he is capable of working up/down, in/out. His velocity is mediocre/poor, but his movement is outstanding. With his control, there is no reason why he can not continue to help the O’s. If he could stay relatively healthy, he would have a chance to accumulate the numbers that will garner him far more attention.