- Jim Bowden, ESPN Insider
The Texas Rangers have finally bolstered their bullpen in a trade with the Baltimore Orioles. The Rangers acquired right-handed reliever Koji Uehara and $2 million in cash from the Orioles in exchange for first baseman/third baseman Chris Davis and right-handed pitcher Tommy Hunter. The Rangers were able to make the deal without giving up any of their top pitching prospects that they’ve been holding back for a possible Heath Bell trade.
Uehara, 36, has had an impressive year for the Orioles, starting with a 1.76 ERA in 43 games. He’s pitched 47 innings and given up only 25 hits while striking out 62 with an impressive WHIP of .702. His deceptive delivery and ability to the hide ball does not allow hitters to get good looks at him or make good contact. This is a huge acquisition for the Rangers to improve what they get in the seventh and eighth innings before getting to Neftali Feliz.
The Orioles receive Davis and Hunter in the deal. Davis, 25, has good power and is an above-average defensive player. He is hitting .250/.299/.403 this year. He has a lot of holes at the plate and can be pitched to easily at the major league level. However, he is a good backup because he provides power off the bench. Hunter, 24, was 13-4 last year with the Rangers with a 3.73 ERA with a WHIP of 1.109. He has dealt with injuries and been shuttled back and forth to the minor leagues over the last few years. His record last year had mostly to do with run support, defense and a solid bullpen. He lost his job in the Rangers’ rotation because of the rapid development of Alexi Ogando, Matt Harrison and Derek Holland this year. Hunter is still a solid fifth starter without upside.
The Orioles weren’t able to take advantage and get top prospects from the strong Rangers farm system, instead acquiring players for the back of the rotation and the roster who quite frankly didn’t fit in long-term with the Rangers.