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11/26/2010: Koji Uehara, Kazuki Nishijima

by on Nov.26, 2010 @ 6:29 pm, under MLB

Nikkan Sports points out a Baltimore Sun article written by Jeff Zrebiec that explains why the Orioles didn't offer Koji Uehara arbitration.  A snip from the article:

...It should, at least, be noted that Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail tried to enter a gentleman's agreement with Mark Pieper, Uehara's agent, where the reliever would have turned down arbitration if it was offered. ... Pieper and Uehara, however, weren’t interested, and the reason is obvious. Uehara stands to make more money in 2011 had he accepted arbitration rather than signed a free-agent deal. ...

Don't misunderstand: MacPhail very much wants Uehara back on the 2011 Orioles... However, he wants him back on a one-year deal filled with incentives that will escalate if Uehara keeps taking the mound and staying off the disabled list.

There is also a sense that Uehara's first choice is return to the club. He loves the responsibility of closing, and there are few other teams beyond the Orioles with openings in that role. He likes his teammates and the city, enjoying privacy that was especially elusive when he played in Japan. His son, who is picking up the English language, is enrolled in school in Baltimore.


The Dodgers held a press conference in Japan on Thursday to formally announce their signing of Kazuki Nishijima.

Said Nishijima, "I want to get to the Majors as soon as possible.  I'd like to pitch against [my high school senpai] Daisuke Matsuzaka."

Nishijima will continue his training in Japan and will fly out to the US in late February.

Dodgers' Japan scout Keiichi Kojima apparently likens Nishijima to a Jamie Moyer type pitcher.

Said Kojima, "[Nishijima] has four pitches he throws with similar motions, making him very difficult to hit. ... He's similar [to Moyer] and we'd love him to become like him as well."

See also:

Dodgers sign two Japanese players to minor league deals