We've talked about a bunch of bullpen names this week, like Heath Bell, Mike Adams, Andrew Bailey and Grant Balfour to name a few. But what about Orioles right-handed reliever Koji Uehara? The Rangers are interested (as are the Angels, according to ESPN's Jim Bowden).
Uehara, 35, makes $3 million this season, but has a vesting option for 2012 that kicks in when he appears in 55 games. And he's just 13 short of that. The option is $4 million.
His ERA dropped to 1.72 (in 47 innings) thanks to a scoreless inning of relief in Friday's 4-2 win over the Yankees. He has 62 strikeouts to only eight walks. How are his splits? Lefties are hitting just .141 against him and righties have batted just .160.
He has closer experience, putting up 13 saves in 2010 (and he was on the DL that season for two months).
He's not Heath Bell, but the Rangers are calling around on all the bullpen pieces they can, and Uehara wouldn't be a bad backup position should the price on Bell not drop.
BTW, Uehara has thrown 7 1/3 innings against the Rangers’ AL West opponents this season and has allowed one run on three hits with nine strikeouts and no walks. He hasn’t faced the Rangers in 2011.
There's still more than 24 hours left until the deadline and plenty of time to pull off a deal.