Late Wednesday, as was expected, the Chicago Cubs announced the signing of Koji Uehara. The team agreed to a one-year deal with the veteran reliever. Terms of this deal were not released, but it is estimated to be for $4.5 million.
Uehara, who is 41, has pitched for eight seasons in the Majors. Last season for Boston, he had a 3.45 ERA and a ratio of strikeouts to walks of 5.73 while appearing in 50 games.
Following a career of 10 years with the Yomiuri Giants in Japan, Uehara first played in the U.S. for the Baltimore Orioles in 2009. In 2012, he signed for Boston and was seventh in the voting for the American League Cy Young award.
He was named the ALCS MVP while with Boston that same year. With the Cubs, Uehara will be the team’s primary set up man for right-handers in front of Wade Davis the team’s closer. Uehara could close as well as he has 93 career saves.
Baltimore it appears has agreed to sign Wellington Castillo as Matt Wieters the team’s All-Star catcher is a free agent.
Castillo and the Orioles have reportedly reached a deal for one-year with a second year as a player option, said sources close to the negotiations.
It was reported that the deal is for $6 million for 2017 with an option for $7 million for 2018.
Castillo, who is 29, became a free agent after not being tendered by Arizona earlier in the offseason. In his more than 760 appearances at the plate between 2015 and 2016 with the Diamondbacks, Castillo had a .261 batting average, 37 doubles, 31 home runs and 118 runs batted in.
Some have questioned the catcher’s ability behind home plate during his career, but he has thrown out 38% of base runners attempting to steal last season compared to a 27% average for the league.
However, he led the league in passed balls with 10. In addition, Castillo has a reputation for not framing pitches, which has hurt him as a player in the eyes of some managers and pitching coaches.
Castillo’s power however will fit in with the play of the Orioles of late. He hit a home run once in every 24.7 at bats over the past three seasons. In 2016, he was above average in that department for catchers.
Caleb Joseph will be Castillo’s backup and the Orioles should now be set with two catchers to start the 2017 season.