Ever since he tearfully left the Orioles in July 2011, it’s been rumored that Koji Uehara would return.
The Orioles made one of their better trades in recent history, trading Uehara, who’d turned into an effective eight-inning reliever, to Texas for Chris Davis and Tommy Hunter.
In the rest of 2011, Uehara wasn’t nearly as effective with the Rangers as he was with the Orioles. But, last year, he had a 1.75 ERA with just three walks in 36 innings. In 54 innings with Texas, he's walked just four.
The Rangers left him off their World Series roster in 2011, and rumors began that Uehara could come back to Baltimore. He has established a home here. His son goes to school in Baltimore and likes it.
The Orioles have a bullpen that already includes right-handers Jim Johnson, Pedro Strop, Luis Ayala and Darren O’Day. Used sparingly, Uehara is effective and at the right price, could be a useful addition.
In recent years, lots of Orioles who have been traded away or left as free agents returned for second acts: Rafael Palmeiro, Miguel Tejada, Eddie Murray, B.J. Surhoff and Harold Baines.
Fans here seem to enjoy having old favorites around, and perhaps Uehara will be another returning friend.