The Red Sox have been clear about their desire to re-sign Koji Uehara. It now appears Boston is taking steps to ensure the free-agent reliever returns in 2015.
The Red Sox and Uehara have been talking about a potential return since the end of the season, according to WEEI.com’s Alex Speier. The ongoing discussions reportedly are being taken as an encouraging sign that Uehara could re-sign with Boston this offseason.
The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo also reported recently that the Red Sox and Uehara have had preliminary talks regarding a potential deal. Speier reports it’s unlikely the Red Sox will extend a one-year, $15.3 million qualifying offer, though a final decision hasn’t been made.
Both general manager Ben Cherington and manager John Farrell have said they’d like to retain Uehara this offseason despite a late-season rough patch that forced the right-hander from Boston’s closer role.
“I think we’ve been very clear we want to keep Koji with us,” Farrell said during an end-of-season press conference Sept. 29 at Fenway Park. “I’m confident we’ll make every effort to do just that.
“What he went through late in the season we’ve been able to determine and see that he went through that previously when he was with Texas, so while every elite pitcher — every pitcher — is going to have some stretches where their performance is less than, we feel that’s been the case with Koji and despite the age, he’s still a very good performer and a guy we want to anchor the back end of the bullpen with.”
Uehara posted a 2.52 ERA with 26 saves in 64 appearances spanning 64 1/3 innings this season. He posted a 1.09 ERA with 21 saves in 74 1/3 innings over 73 regular-season appearances in 2013 before embarking on a very successful postseason run.
Uehara will turn 40 before Opening Day.
Photo via Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports Images
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