All along, a lot of people have been predicting that the Rangers would trade for Heath Bell. The Rangers are a first-place team looking for help in the bullpen, and Bell is the market's biggest name. However, talks between the Rangers and Padres recently reached a standstill, and on Saturday, Jon Daniels has gone in another direction:
People may not realize how good Koji Uehara is. Since breaking into the league in 2009, he's thrown 157-2/3 innings, with 165 strikeouts and 25 walks. His ERA has gone down each season, and he's been effective against lefties and righties alike. He's basically been untouchable since moving into the bullpen in 2010, and the 36-year-old should be a huge help to a struggling relief corps. He's dominant, and he does have experience closing.
To get Uehara, the Rangers paid a decent price. The strikeout-prone Davis hasn't hit much in the majors, but he's 25 and currently owns the highest OPS in the PCL, at 1.229. He's a 1B/3B/LF who isn't altogether that different from Mark Reynolds. Meanwhile, Hunter was a big part of the Rangers' rotation last year. The 25-year-old righty has had his 2011 season derailed by a groin injury, but he's pitched well in the minors and out of the big league bullpen, and he could help the Orioles for years. Assuming he's converted back into a starter, he'll allow the ball to be put in play while seldom issuing any walks. Not too dissimilar from Doug Fister in that regard, all things considered.
Both Hunter and Davis are under team control for a long time. Uehara has a vesting option for 2012, worth $4 million with additional bonuses. This looks like a good longer-term gamble for the Orioles, while the Rangers land immediate help in exchange for two guys who probably weren't in their future plans.
The Orioles sent $2 million to the Rangers to help cover Uehara's salary.