BREAKING NEWS: Koji Uehara Traded to Rangers for 1B Chris Davis and RHP Tommy Hunter
Say bye bye to set-up man strikeout machine Koji. We know how great he’s been here in Baltimore, from fully taking on the closer role last season to playing the perfect set-up man this season getting 51 strikeouts in 45 innings pitched with a 2.93 ERA in 43 games. He’s been great. However, he may be better in Texas and the Orioles may have got off with a great deal.
Let’s start with the first basemen Chris Davis. He was drafted by the Rangers in 2006 and he’s 25 years old, a great age. Davis made his major league debut in 2008 against the Astros in which he got his first hit at his first at-bat. He’s a pretty high strikeout guy as he struck out for the 100th time in 219 at-bats in 2009 becoming the player to reach 100 strikeouts in the least amount of plate appearances. He’s spent most of his time in Triple-A but has 72 at-bats with the Rangers this season of which he’s batting .250 with 3 homers and 6 RBI. Over his career, he’s hitting .248 with 42 HR and 124 RBI in 4 seasons. At the moment, he is the Orioles best prospect at 1B and will take over for Derrek Lee either next season or if Lee is traded by tomorrow. I’m thinking there could be a package deal for Lee and Guthrie to a team that needs a back-end-of-the-rotation inning-eater and a right-handed bat off the bench. This would be the best scenario for the O’s because Lee isn’t doing much (though he is on fire the last week batting .429 with 2 home runs and 7 RBI…maybe putting on a show so another team wants him?)
The big part of the deal is Tommy Hunter. First off, this guy is huge. He’s 6’3” and 280 pounds. He is also 25 years old. This seems like the perfect deal for the O’s. He was drafted in 2007 in the first round of the supplemental draft by the Rangers. Last season, this kid went 13-4 with a 3.73 ERA and 68 strikeouts. He started a game in the ALDS, ALCS, and World Series in which he went 0-2 with 16 hits and 7 earned runs (8 runs scored) over 11.1 innings pitched for a 5.56 ERA. Over his career, he’s 23-13 with a 4.36 ERA over 53 games (44 starts). This season, he’s 1-1 in 8 appearances (no starts) with a 2.93 ERA. By the way, his one win this season came in a perfect inning of work against the Orioles July 5th.
He will probably immediately become a part of the starting rotation especially if Guthrie is dealt. I don’t know about you guys, but I have a pretty good feeling about this trade. I’ll definitely miss Koji but he’ll be able to win like he deserves and we get a decent 1B and really decent starting pitcher out of the deal. I’m excited to see what these guys can do.