Thursday, December 9, 2010
Koji Uehara, 2009 Upper Deck Goodwin Champions #139
First, they reached an agreement late last night on a new contract for Koji Uehara. I was confused when the O's declined to offer him salary arbitration, but in hindsight they saved money. If he'd accepted arbitration, he likely make at least $6 million in 2011 (his 2010 salary was $5 million). Instead, Koji signed a one-year deal for $3 million guaranteed with another $2 million in incentives and an option for 2012. It's a pretty low-risk deal for someone who was excellent when he finally got healthy.
Around lunchtime today, the Birds finally completed a trade for another talented infielder in his prime, acquiring shortstop J.J. Hardy and utility infielder Brendan Harris from the Twins for minor league relievers Brett Jacobsen and Jim Hoey. Minnesota even threw in $500,000 to offset some of the salary difference. Hardy is 28, has some pop (he hit a total 61 doubles and 50 homers in 2007 and 2008 with the Brewers), and is regarded as a strong defender. At this point in his career, he's just as good as Cesar Izturis with the glove and even if his offense remains at the lower level of his 2009-2010 numbers, he's actually a significant upgrade over Cesar with the bat. Twins fans are howling over the deal, which I'll take as a good sign.
I feel much better about the deals Andy MacPhail has made this week than I did about the retread Band-Aids he slapped on last year's team. It's starting to look like a major league club...of course the less said about the Red $ox and the Yankee$, the better.