The Texas Rangers were suspected to be quietly trying to make room for Roy Oswalt on their roster by dealing Koji Uehara. According to general manager Jon Daniels, though, that will not happen: the Rangers are no longer looking to deal Uehara to clear money or space.
The Rangers have had trade discussions with other teams about Uehara, but a deal does not appear likely. General manager Jon Daniels said he doesn't have any trades in the works as Texas prepares for Spring Training.
"There are always some deals in the spring, moves here or there," Daniels said Tuesday. "But we're ready to go with this group of guys. I have no moves planned or anything like that."
The price for Uehara might have been prohibitive to all who were interested, as the Rangers were looking to get "multiple prospects" in return for the reliever they dealt Tommy Hunter and Chris Davis for last July. There is less contract left for Uehara this time around, though, and, whether due to poor luck, an injury, or legitimate failure, Uehara had trouble with homers down the stretch.
What does this mean for the Red Sox, though?
Boston's offer for Oswalt is supposedly still on the table, even if the Red Sox and general manager Ben Cherington aren't anticipating that he will accept. If the Rangers haven't been able to make room, though, and the Cardinals are yet to do the same (though they at least seem open to trying to find a way) then the Red Sox might still end up winning what has to be the slowest-paced race for a free agent starter in years.
There's no guarantee, but they still have that non-zero chance. Pitchers and catchers have reported to camps around the game, and Oswalt's already in strange territory historically. He'll have to come to a decision soon.
The Red Sox have a new pitching coach again this year, as they promoted Bob McClure from a scouting role to a job he previously held with other organizations. Alex Speier got a full report from McClure on everyone he has seen throw in camp this year, and it's absolutely worth the read: McClure dishes out more information on mechanics and how pitchers get injured in a few quotes than you'll see most pitching coaches dispense over their tenure.
McClure has praise for Daniel Bard's mechanics and delivery, and how quickly Bard responded to the advice McClure has already given him in terms of preparing to be a starter. McClure thinks Andrew Miller can be a starter in the major leagues, but not unless he makes some major transitions in his mechanics, as he doesn't know anyone accurate who throws like he does. He suspects Felix Doubront is the kind of pitcher who hurts themselves with their motions, and is already at work getting the oft-injured lefty away from those habits.
McClure is also Aaron Cook's former minor league pitching coach with the Rockies, and the one who got him to be as successful as he's been. Cook has some encouraging words regarding McClure and his abilities:
"He never molded any pitcher into the same type of pitcher. He looked at guys' individual abilities and really helped them figure out what was going to work best with them," said Cook. "For me, it was my sinker, pitching to contact and learning to go for strikeouts when you needed them, but if you didn't need them, get the hitter out of the box in four pitches or less."
As said, this is a must-read piece from Speier, with far more insight into what pitching coaches think about than you are used to seeing.
Speaking of Bard's transition to the rotation, that (and the moves of Neftali Feliz, Chris Sale, and Aroldis Chapman) was my topic at Baseball Nation today. In short: it's amazing how similar Feliz, Sale, and Bard are, in terms of results and repertoire, and their successes, when combined with the others of Texas over the last two years, might help bring about a new market inefficiency of sorts to be exploited by teams across the league.
It's no sure thing that any of these pitchers will be successful starters, but between the research performed by Tom Tango and Nate Silver and the similarities of all of these arms, it's hard not to feel better about Bard's chances. Or worse about all of the others. Either way, there's consistency for your reasoning here.