As expected, Koji Uehara has been traded. Not surprisingly, he ended up in Texas, which has needed help for its bullpen.
While it’s sad to see the O’s best pitcher this year leave the team, he will definitely have a better shot at the postseason with Texas. In return for Uehara and cash, Baltimore has picked up pitcher Tommy Hunter and infielder Chris Davis.
Hunter will help Baltimore's starting rotation, which was strong at the start of the year but quickly fell apart. Several of the O's pitchers have bounced between Baltimore and Norfolk this year, and the team has used nine different pitchers to start games. Only two of Baltimore's starters (Guthrie and Arrieta) have stayed in the rotation all year.
Having started for Texas for two years, Hunter missed making the rotation this year due to an injury in spring training. By the time he had returned, his spot in the rotation was filled, so he was sent to the bullpen.
In 2010, as a starter, he posted a 13-4 record for the Rangers. The 25-year-old should provide some support to a pitching staff that has had a very rough year. He pitched a couple innings on Friday, but he will likely join the starting rotation sooner rather than later.
Davis, also 25, has had a great bat at the Triple-A level but, has not yet been able to turn that into big league success at the plate. Over portions of four seasons (226 games) in the Pacific Coast league, his 162 game average batting stats include 45 doubles, 38 HR and 148 RBI, while having a minimum .327 BA and an OBP over .400 for each of those four seasons.
While Davis plays both first and third, he is a better fielder at 1B and has spent more time at that position. If he learns how to hit at the major league level, he could be a long-term solution at first base. Whether or not Derrek Lee gets traded this year may affect how much playing time he sees in Baltimore for the remainder of this year, but expect the O’s to give him opportunities when they can.
If Hunter is able to continue to do what he’s already done in the majors, and Davis learns to make the adjustment to major league pitching, both players could be with the O’s for a while.