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Cubs Sign Veteran Reliever Koji Uehara to One-Year Contract

The Chicago Cubs bullpen just became even stronger.

Chicago has agreed to terms with 41-year-old Koji Uehara on a one-year, $4.5 million contract. The agreement was first reported by Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports.

Uehara, who is leaving the Boston Red Sox after four years, had 79 total saves in his career with the Red Sox, and posted a 2.19 earned run average with 291 strikeouts over 226 innings of work.

He was the team’s closer from 2013 to 2015 before they acquired Craig Kimbrel from the Padres to close games in 2016. Uehara went 2-3 with a 3.45 earned run average and 63 strikeouts over 47 innings of work in a set-up role last season.

Koji Uehara has signed on with the defending World Series champions. (Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Koji Uehara has signed on with the defending World Series champions.
(Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

Boston beefed up their bullpen earlier this week by acquiring Tyler Thornburg from the Milwaukee Brewers in-exchange for Travis Shaw and two prospects, making Uehara expendable.

The expectation is that Uehara will slide into a middle relief role for the Cubs, who lost Aroldis Chapman to the Yankees yesterday. President Theo Epstein made up for it quickly, as he acquired Wade Davis via trade from the Royals by giving up Jorge Soler.

Chicago’s bullpen also features Hector Rondon, Pedro Strop, Justin Grimm, Carl Edwards, and others.

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