Re: Sox need another closer.
posted at 11/13/2013 1:20 PM EST
In response to greenwellforpresident's comment:
In response to djcbuffum's comment:
It would be reckless to go into 2014 relying on Koji to pitch another 75 straight shutout innings. His 2013 season was possibly one of the best seasons for a relief pitcher ever; the chances that he'll even come close to that again are pretty slim.
On the other hand, he Sox wouldn't want to sign a closer who expects to be a closer, since Koji has earned the right to start the season there. What they need is an excellent set-up man who is ready to slide into the closer role if/when Koji falters. I'm skeptical that Junichi is that guy, and I know neither Bailey nor Hanrahan are.
So where should they go? Bullpens are finicky, and there's a lot of matriculation throughout a season. A player can be stellar one year, and bring a 5.50 ERA the next. A guy can be lights out for two months, and then a strained forearm takes him out the rest of the year. Or the reverse; a guy can flounder along in the 6th inning for 10 innins with a 6.00 ERA, and then suddenly *click* and be lights out the rest of the season.
So obviously, the Sox want to stock up on low-cost middle relief and see who might emerge. But should there be any big name targets in trade or FA? Are you satisfied with just relying on the prospects? What's a GM to do?
In 2010, Uehara's first year as a reliever, he had a 2.86 ERA and 0.96 WHIP. Both of those stats have gotten better every year since. What makes you think he can't continue to be good?
Maybe he can, but do you bet your bullpen on it?
Koji's 2013 season was one of the best by a RP ever. Regression is a near certainty. If he only regresses to his 2010 numbers, then great! But there's a real risk that he will regress further, or suffer an overuse injury. He had 72 IP this year; far more than any previous year in his career. Adn he'll be 39 y/o.