I’m happy that Andy MacPhail actually decided to trade Koji Uehara, but this isn’t the type of deal I was hoping for. The reliever is going to Texas, in return for first-baseman Chris Davis and pitcher Tommy Hunter.
Tommy Hunter is a 25 year-old right-hander with over 50 major league games under his belt. He doesn’t strike out many batters (5.1 K/9) and is a flyball pitcher which leaves him prone to giving up the longball (1.3 HR/9), but at least he has solid control (2.5 BB/9). His 4.50 career xFIP pretty much tells the story. He’s a #4/5 starter type, but at least he’s cheap and under team control for a while.
Chris Davis is a 25 year-old left-handed swinger who’s basically Mark Reynolds (who now won’t be moving to first-base) without the walks. In almost 1,000 career plate appearances he’s hitting .248/.300/.454. I guess there’s a chance he may develop into a below average first-baseman (as opposed to a replacement level player). At least he’s cheap and under team control for a while.
If looking at the excess value, I think the O’s may have come out a bit ahead (even kicking in $2 M to help pay for Koji’s contract). Still, comparing this deal to the universe of possible deals I’m extremely disappointed. This seems like the Orioles are extending the Quest for .500 into 2012, looking to add mediocre roster pieces instead of trying to pick up some prospects who have a chance to meaningfully contribute to the next 90 win Orioles team (which Hunter and David don’t). If having these cheaper players means the team will, say, invest into the international market instead of signing comparable veterans for next year, I guess that’s OK. But I doubt it.
Speaking as a fan, I’m going to miss Koji and the return doesn’t compensate for that one bit.