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December 15, 2010

More Uehara contract info including vesting numbers and a limited no-trade clause

Here’s a few more details on Koji Uehara’s contract, which has been signed and filed with the commissioner’s office.

Most important, the $3-million-base, one-year deal in 2011 will vest for 2012 if Uehara reaches either 55 games pitched or 25 games finished next season.

Those are fairly attainable goals for Uehara if he stays healthy. Even with two disabled list stints in 2010, Uehara pitched in 43 games and finished 22 last year.

Another interesting aspect of the deal is that Uehara, 35, has a limited no-trade clause, meaning he cannot be dealt to six teams. Those specific clubs are not disclosed in the contract.

There are also some perks included that are fairly standard with Japanese players’ contracts -- the club must provide a translator, reimburse Uehara for a personal trainer, pick up some Japan to U.S. airline travel and, similar to his last deal, allow him to elect free agency at the completion of the contract (whether it‘s 2011 or, in the case of vesting, 2012.)

Ultimately, the contract can be worth as much as $11.5 million if he stays healthy and is the closer for two seasons. Only the $3 million base for 2011 is guaranteed.

The first year can be worth up to $6.5 million with $100,000 bonuses starting at 30 games pitched and continuing at each five game interval up to 50. Uehara can also earn bonuses ranging from $150,000 to $250,000 for games finished from 10 to 55.

If the contract vests, he’ll get a $4 million base salary in 2012 and potentially another $1 million in games-finished bonuses. A player cannot receive bonuses on specific statistical categories, such as saves or wins.

Uehara’s contract also includes standard award package bonuses for honors such as postseason awards and all-star selections.

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Posted by Dan Connolly at 9:30 PM | | Comments (19)


In other words, if the Orioles pay the maximum amount on this contract it will probably be worth the money, since that would also mean that he was the closer for a significant amount of games over 2 seasons, or, been durable in a relief role. Considering how deliberate Showalter is with his pen options, if Uehara falters a little he will get less and less leash to attain such goals, albeit be used at a regular pace. Showalter seems very adept at getting EVERYBODY work on a regular basis.

Hopefully the Orioles are the ones selecting his trainer. Last year he was in horrible shape. No excuse for a pro athlete to be winded that quickly.

Sounds like a smart contract and a good signing. Where are all the Andy bashers? Well done Mr. McPhail.

I hope Koji maxes out on all incentives. It would certainly help stabilize the bullpen, and translate into more Orioles' wins.

Just a quick note to all the AM bashers and their impatience that is shown over and over again in all of the columns written by The Sun writers...GET A LIFE! Do you think maybe that the Phillies fans might have been acting the same way, especially in light of the fact that GM Amaro had done zero to improve that club...until this week? Then, BAM...we all know what happened next!!! All of you need to understand that you'll be the last one to know if anything happens regarding key FA deals anyway. That's just how it works. I'm sure AM would like to take the time to go over every deal he's working on with you, but let's give the man his due. So far, so good. We've improved quite a bit this offseason, so let's just applaud the man for his efforts. All you negative people just need to go somewhere else where stupidity is the norm. Try NY Post!!

Maybe we could get Koji to close for the Ravens.

I tried to put this in the Reynolds column, but there was a server issue. Just wanted to say to all of the O's Bashers, that Buck points out in this guy's worst year that he would have lead us in 4 categories. Not only does Reynolds, at 27 yrs old, signify a great deal pulled off by AM, but he's obviously a high class individual, jumping right into the community and offering whatever he can of his time. This tells me a lot about someone and possibly about those conspicuous by their absence, by the way, as well. I challenge all of you to go to the Arizona Republic Papers and read what true baseball people are saying about losing Reynolds and LaRoche while Kevin Towers is trying to say he has improved his club with none other than Melvin Mora to replace Reynolds. At least no one in this town is trying to pull the wool over us!! Lastly, please, please stop the Atkins references...are you really serious? Time for all you losers to make an effort to be positive. Go O's!!

Andy is a McPhool

Kerry Wood signs elsewhere. Crain, and Guerrier elsewhere. Weren't those the relievers the O's should have considered? Instead we are stuck negotiating with a guy who lost his closer's role with two teams, I believe FL, and CHC. And we are sign a guy coming off a couple injury plagued seasons who was once a 'prized' jewel.

The only option left out there is Fuentes, and frankly, I don't want him (overrated).

Oh well. It's a 4-team race anyways in this packed division.

This should be a side column next to, what should be the big story of, The Orioles signing of their new power-hitting first baseman, Carl Pavano, and Ben Sheets

agreed, mickey. though these deals wont make the 2011 Orioles division favorites, they are a step in the right direction. some people just complain to hear themselves talk.

There are actually fans who feel the team is improved from last year. Obviously those people don't tak into account what we lost in the process. They see our new 3B who will strike out 45% of his at bats, and a downgrade defensively at SS. Are there any other improvements?

I know, AM is a McPhool if some overrated middle relievers making $4-5 million a year for 3 years go elsewhere, where the same people were praising him for bringing in THE CLOSER in Gonzalez last year. It just proves that you can only do so much to appease the loser fans in this town. Guerrier is a guy we didn't want, but I would've liked the power arm of Crain. Balfour is still out there and someone we could really use. Seriously, loser fans, Ben Sheets? I think this is the same FAN who said Fox would be the answer to 1B with 30-40 HR's. He'll be lucky to make the team, Mrs. Fox!!

And you, O's fan in CA, are CACA.
You complain about MacPhail signing a pitcher who has been injured and was once a "prized jewel?" How ironic, because that's the same exact description of Kerry Wood before the 2010 season. You're hilarious; uniformed, but hilarious none the less.


how is reynolds a downgrade at 3B offensively when what we would have had there otherwise is Bell? Explain that to me. Bell struck out at an unimaginable pace. And didn't have the same power. Bell is not ready for the majors!! No downgrade. Think about what you're saying...

and, according to all available defensive metrics, Hardy is an UPGRADE from Izturis. I don't know where you're getting your ideas from, but weren't you also the same genius who complained about us not signing Ben Sheets?


dspedden fool, now that you and your uninformed opinions have been "outed", tell us it's actually Mrs. Pedden and we'll at least think there is hope. Otherwise, please jump on loser papers like, say, the NY Post and mix with all of those losers. You'll blend in well...they'll never notice. Now back to some sensible, informed people, please!

LaRoache - brandon webb

IF you need any further proof of why the orioles can't keep up in the AL east, GO to baseball america and look at the international signings. YOU can bet one or more of these might become a top prospect Several teams are strong into the international market, Cincy, rangers, dodgers, yankees,boston,seattle, rays, and blue jays..

When Koji is on, his stuff is nasty. I think this is a great contract for a potentially high-impact player.

As for this nonsense about Reynolds. PLEASE. Reynolds hit 76 dingers in two years. He walks a lot, also. He plays above average defense. He was a great pick-up and his game will NO DOUBT benefit from the friendly confines of Camden. What matters most is who we can put around him... and the same goes for the other players on the team. I can't believe how many people dump on Jones and Weiters. Those two are practically newbies. GIVE THEM TIME. THEY HAVE TALENT.

No Doubt had some nice songs but shouldn't be applied to projections. I'm still waiting for Glenn Davis's 40th HR as an Oriole when we were supposed to get three years of them.

Meanwhile, let's look at Reynolds' stats -- and we'll do him a big favor hitting-wise and look at career numbers based on 162 games because 2010 was a down year for the 26-year old and we must cast a blind eye to that .198 batting average.

For a guy who hits a lot of "dingers" -- and I do so love those technical terms as well as the well-placed all-caps to (ahem) prove a point -- and "walks a lot," you'd expect his on-base percentage plus slugging average (OPS) to be, well, above average. He is way behind Rodriguez and Longoria, and only slightly ahead of Beltre and Encarnacion. (You don't mind if I look at the AL East, do you?) That's because he is behind everyone in on-base percentage (OBP) except Beltre by two points.

Above average fielder, eh? If you search, you will find a post of mine saying he is not even as good as Wigginton, and Wigginton played other positions as well.

As for his 2010 stats compared to the AL East -- and I use 2010 because I was once reminded he is "improving" and I want to show the best possible light here -- they're not so encouraging. In a group including Rodriguez, Longoria, Beltre and Encarnacion, Reynolds would rank fourth in fielding percentage -- beating out only Encarnacion. In chances per nine innings, Reynolds would rank fourth again, this time only ahead of A-Rod.

In fact, his fielding percentage was 12 points lower than Josh Bell and lagged way behind Miguel Tejada in chances per nine innings.

Don't get me wrong. Reynolds is not a bad pick-up. But right now, he is the marquee pick-up of this offseason by the Orioles and as that, he is a symbol of the sad state of affairs that defines this team.

Oh, sure, something major could still happen but given MacPhail's track record and/or Angelos's track record since The Purge, do you really expect something major will really, really happen?

Oh, and the Koji signing is a nice signing, too. Another lateral move. But nice. The Oriole do indeed have talent. Not enough. Perhaps not even more than last year. Perhaps just different than last year.

And 72-90 would be an improvement. Just don't start expecting ten more wins than that even with Showalter at the helm. MacPhail and Angelos still dictate the vessel he gets to navigate.

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About the bloggers
A Baltimore native, Dan Connolly has been covering sports for 14 years, and baseball and the Orioles for 10 seasons, including the past six with The Sun. His first year covering baseball on a daily basis was Cal Ripken Jr.'s final season as a player. It's believed that is just a coincidence.

Steve Gould is an assistant sports editor for The Sun, overseeing Orioles coverage. The Columbia native joined The Sun as a sports copy editor in 2006 after graduating from the University of Maryland.

Peter Schmuck has been covering baseball for a lot longer than Steve Gould has been on this earth. He is now a general sports columnist, but has been a beat writer covering three major league teams (the Dodgers, Angels and Orioles) and also spent a decade as the Sun's national baseball writer. If you want more of his insight on the Orioles and other sports issues, check out his personal blog -- The Schmuck Stops Here.

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