The Red Sox’ bullpen at one point looked like a potential area of weakness. Then came the playoffs.
While not perfect, the bridge to Koji Uehara was certainly stable during the 2013 postseason. Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington would like to maintain that stability in 2014. According to Cherington, the Red Sox will look to add to their bullpen mix this offseason.
“We have a number of guys returning to the bullpen and the makings of a good bullpen, but we’ll probably look to add to that some group somehow,” Cherington said Monday at Fenway Park. “Again, not sure how or what sort of roles or flavors, but we’ll try to add to that group. And then really just be opportunistic, be prepared for opportunities that come our way or seek opportunities if we can find ways to give us a better chance or improve in an area. Even if it’s not obvious, we want to be prepared to do that.”
The bulk of the Red Sox’ bullpen is expected to remain intact. That includes Uehara, whose 2014 contract option vested with his 55th appearance of 2013. Joel Hanrahan, who pitched in just nine games with the Red Sox before undergoing season-ending surgery, is a free agent, and Andrew Bailey, who is rehabbing from shoulder surgery, could rejoin Boston at some point, although there’s currently no timetable for his return.
“I think right now with the exception of any additional closer or other reliever added, I think we’re completely comfortable with starting next year with Koji as our closer,” Farrell said.
Well, yeah. Considering Uehara morphed into the most dominant closer in baseball after assuming the role in June, it’d be shocking if he wasn’t closing out games next April. The only question, really, is whether the bridge to Uehara will have a different look and feel when the Red Sox open up their title defense.