O's don't offer arbitration to Uehara, Millwood
Orioles remain highly interested in bringing back free-agent closer
BALTIMORE -- The Orioles are still highly interested in bringing back free-agent closer Koji Uehara, but the club declined to offer arbitration to both Uehara and fellow Type B free agent Kevin Millwood.
All Major League teams have until Tuesday's midnight ET deadline to decide whether to offer arbitration to their own free agents.
Millwood -- who lost a career-high 16 games -- was not offered arbitration given that he stood to make considerably more money than he would on the free-agent market, and he would probably have accepted the O's offer. Acquired in a trade with Texas last winter, Millwood made $12 million in 2010. Although the O's are seeking a veteran arm for next season, it won't be the 36-year-old Millwood.
Uehara is a different case. While most Japanese players are not eligible to be offered arbitration under a typical deal, Uehara has a provision in his contract that allows him to qualify. The Orioles have shown an interest in retaining Uehara and remain in talks with his representatives, as well as those for free agents Ty Wigginton and Cesar Izturis.
Injury-plagued for the first half of the season, Uehara pitched to a 2.86 ERA in his first season out of the bullpen and was used as the Orioles' closer in the season's final few months. The 35-year-old Uehara set a franchise record by not walking a batter in 32 consecutive appearances -- from July 19 through the end of the season -- and collected a team-high 11 saves.
Signed to a two-year, $10-million deal in January of 2009, Uehara's season puts him in line for a significant raise that could command upward of $8 million next year. Baltimore could potentially bring Uehara back at a cheaper cost than what arbitration would have netted.
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.