Koji Uehara went 1-2, 2.86 this season with 13 saves in 15 chances and didn’t walk a batter over his last 32 appearances.
But to this point, it appears the Orioles haven’t made much of an attempt to resign him and Uehara can soon become a Major League free agent.
Makes you wonder if the O’s are skeptical of Koji’s late-season success and ability to handle the closer’s role. Maybe they are scared off by all the time he spent on the DL in his two seasons with the club or the fact that he is 35.
Koji is an interesting case.
Do GM’s around the game see him as a top-notch reliever or someone that is more likely to be a decent pitcher that can’t get off the disabled list?
What kind of contract could he get on the open market?
His numbers, including that 55-5, 11 to 1 strikeout to walks ratio, is pretty amazing. His last walk was July 16th and he pitched his final 34 innings of the year without one.
The league hit just .220 off him and right-handed batters hit only .185 with one homer in 92 at bats.
The stat sheet says he is a pitcher the Orioles should have resigned by now, but his two-year history with the team raises doubts.
Most can still remember the Koji on the mound who looked like he wouldn’t make it through a few innings he was sweating so much. But they can also remember the Koji that buzzed through teams in the ninth inning on about ten pitches for several of his saves. He got ahead of hitters and mowed them down with a high 80’s fastball.
If they can get Koji for a reasonable one-year deal, maybe one with incentives, I think the O’s need to do it.
But all it takes is one team to offer an over-market deal or take the risk and offer Koji two years. Is that team out there?
Koji pitched so well late last season for the Orioles. But as of now, the club has not resigned him, making you think they have some concerns about him, or perhaps they think they just can do better elsewhere.