Bringing Koji Uehara to the Rangers was not a stupid move on paper, but you know what they say about the best laid plans.
There’s no denying that Uehara has not pitched well since being traded from the Orioles. Before the trade deadline, he was sporting a very clean 1.72 ERA. In Texas, it ballooned to 4.00 in just 18 innings pitched.
It isn’t for me to speculate on why he has done so poorly outside of Baltimore. It may be that he just isn’t comfortable here, but no one but Koji can say for sure.
His less-than-stellar performance is a shame. There were few things last season that brought me more happiness than watching him come off the mound after a successful outing. The utter joy and excitement we saw in him was unmatched anywhere else on the field.
Unfortunately it was something that we saw too little of in the regular season and none of in the postseason, as Uehara gave up 3 HRs in only 3 outings (1.1 innings pitched in the playoffs).
According to some rumblings last night, the Rangers and Uehara may be talking. Those talks may eventually lead to a trade, maybe to Toronto or even back to Baltimore.
Like I said, it’s a shame. I’d like to see him stay and be successful as a Ranger, but maybe he just needs a different situation. Maybe his going back to the Orioles is the best decision for everyone involved.
If he does go back, though, there is no question that I would ask for the original trade pieces or some equivalent. Even if it’s not Tommy Hunter and Chris Davis, at least work out a deal where you can recoup one serviceable pitcher and one serviceable position player.
For all intents and purposes, Uehara is the same pitcher. There’s no reason not to get similar compensation for him.