The Winter Meetings may have ended on Thursday but the Cubs were still busy as many were boarding planes for home, inking former Red Sox closer Koji Uehara to a one-year deal reportedly worth $4.5 million.
The addition of the 41-year-old strengthens the Cubs bullpen depth and adds another experienced arm in the pen. The right-hander appeared in 50 games for Boston in 2016 and was 2-3 with seven saves and a 12.1 K/9 rate. He missed part of the season with a right pectoral strain. In the previous three years, Uehara recorded 72 saves for Boston with a career-high 26 in 2014 when he got the final out of the World Series.
Uehara relies on his fastball (high 80s) and a splitter. He’s also wicked on left-handed hitters as they have batted .183 against him during his MLB career while righties are hitting .208.
After 10 years in Japan, Uehara signed with the Orioles in 2009 and was 2-4 with a 4.05 ERA in 12 starts. He made the move to the bullpen in 2010 and was traded to the Rangers in 2011 for 1B Chris Davis and RHP Tommy Hunter. Uehara pitched in 2012 for the Rangers and then signed a free agent deal with Boston in 2013.
Fowler to Cards
Twitter was a buzz Thursday night following a report that Dexter Fowler was headed to St. Louis on Friday for a physical. The Cubs leadoff hitter and center fielder during the World Series run, Fowler hit .276/.393/.447 with 13 HR and 48 RBI in 125 games for the champs. The Cubs will receive a compensation pick after the first round if the Cardinals sign him and St. Louis will forfeit their first-round pick. Early reports indicate Fowler could get a five-year deal in the $90 million range.
Winter League Report
A light night of action for Cubs prospects playing in the winter leagues. 1B Chesny Young singled in his first at-bat for Escogido to extended his hit streak to 10 games in the Dominican Winter League. Young (.457) finished 2-for-4 with a RBI in the 5-3 loss to Aguilas......Corey Black recorded his 12th save with a scoreless ninth as Santurce beat Aguadilla 3-1 in the Puerto Rican League. Black (1-0, 0.45 ERA) allowed a hit and fanned one, his eight straight appearance without surrendering a run. CF Jacob Hannemann (.122) was 0-for-4 with 4 K. 1B Yasiel Balaguert (.270) went 1-for-4 in Carolina’s 2-1 loss to Mayaguez.