Do you trade Koji Uehara by the July 31 deadline?
J.J. Hardy is officially off the trade board now that he has inked a three-year contract extension with the Orioles.
Hardy was by far the Orioles’ most coveted -- and potentially available -- trade commodity.
Of the pending free agents, the only other one who might draw real interest this month is reliever Koji Uehara, who has been perhaps the club’s best pitcher. I’m not sure how much a right-handed setup man would bring in return, but Uehara has been one of the best.
He is 1-1 with a 1.84 ERA in 40 games. He has allowed 23 hits and eight walks in 44 innings while striking out 58.
The remaining pending free agents are a bucketful of high-salaried disappointment right now: Michael Gonzalez, Derrek Lee and Vladimir Guerrero. Maybe a contender bites and takes a chance on one of those guys, but the return would be minimal, at best. And all almost certainly would pass through trade waivers, so they could be dealt in August if there are any suitors.
Two other potential trade chips are starter Jeremy Guthrie and Luke Scott, who are both arbitration-eligible at season’s end. But neither has helped his value recently: Scott is expected to come off the DL on Tuesday but has batted .223 in 63 games; Guthrie leads the majors in losses (13) and has a 4.45 ERA. You aren’t getting a top prospect in return for those two.
So, really, that leaves Uehara, 36, as your main trade bait. There is another thing to consider with him, though. He needs 15 more games to kick in his $4 million vesting option for 2012. And, honestly, $4 million doesn’t seem bad for a guy who has pitched so well this season in a relief corps that has struggled.
Obviously, we don’t know exactly what the Orioles would get in return for Uehara, so this is a little tough to answer. But let’s say, theoretically, you can get one legitimate prospect for him -- say a top-10 player from another system.
Would you deal Koji at the trade deadline? Or do you want to keep him for next year based on the way he has pitched?
Daily Think Special: Do you trade Koji Uehara at the deadline?