I'm happy that Andy MacPhail actually decided to trade Koji Uehara, but this isn't the type of deal I was hoping for. The reliever is going to Texas, in return for first-baseman Chris Davis and pitcher Tommy Hunter.
Tommy Hunter is a 25 year-old right-hander with over 50 major league games under his belt. He doesn't strike out many batters (5.1 K/9) and is a flyball pitcher which leaves him prone to giving up the longball (1.3 HR/9), but at least he has solid control (2.5 BB/9). His 4.50 career xFIP pretty much tells the story. He's a #4/5 starter type, but at least he's cheap and under team control for a while.
Chris Davis is a 25 year-old left-handed swinger who's basically Mark Reynolds (who now won't be moving to first-base) without the walks. In almost 1,000 career plate appearances he's hitting .248/.300/.454. I guess there's a chance he may develop into a below average first-baseman (as opposed to a replacement level player). At least he's cheap and under team control for a while.
If looking at the excess value, I think the O's may have come out a bit ahead (even kicking in $2 M to help pay for Koji's contract). Still, comparing this deal to the universe of possible deals I'm extremely disappointed. This seems like the Orioles are extending the Quest for .500 into 2012, looking to add mediocre roster pieces instead of trying to pick up some prospects who have a chance to meaningfully contribute to the next 90 win Orioles team (which Hunter and David don't). If having these cheaper players means the team will, say, invest into the international market instead of signing comparable veterans for next year, I guess that's OK. But I doubt it.
Speaking as a fan, I'm going to miss Koji and the return doesn't compensate for that one bit.
Jon Daniels is no dummy. That is probably the most you were going to get, I would have targeted Barret Loux but GMs have gotten smarter about prospects.
Think you are being a bit hard on Davis. He has been jerked around like Reimold and TIllman and has a .970 OPS in the minors. He is probably somewhere between his big league OPS of .755 and his minor league OPS though closer to big leagues due to an incredible unsustainable BABIP and ISO in AAA this year and in other years.
And remember, this is the OPS of O's primary first baseman the last few years (and that doesn't include Atkins).
2011 - Derrek Lee .715
2010 - Wiggington - .727
2009 - Huff - .725
2008 - Millar - .717
I can go on. Even if Davis is no better than what he has done so far in the bigs he is an upgrade over the last decade plus since Palmeiro retired. You always say 1B is easy to fill but the facts haven't borne that out. He is cheap and has a chance to be a solid player - I don't have a problem with the deal even though Hunter isn't much.
I personally will miss seeing Koji in an O's uniform, but will enjoy seeing him in the playoffs. I hope the plan is to bring Hunter into the starting rotation this year and would feel better if Davis were going to be good enough to start, say after another trade involving Lee. All in all if Andy truly believes that Hunter can jump into the rotation right now, it sounds like a good move.