What relievers are still available, and how much would they cost ? These are two important questions that Red Sox General Manager Ben Cherington needs to find the answer to sooner better then later if the team is going to seriously contend for a World Series title next season.
Today, the Bigg Dawg takes a look at some of the possible arms the Sox may be concidering.
The 36-year-old Francisco Cordero had an amazing year last season. In 68 games Cordero’s record was 5-3, and he recorded an excellent ERA of 2.45 and WHIP of 1.02. Regardless of where Cordero signs, expect that his contract will be in the ballpark of eight million per season. Cherington, who has been conservative ( maybe overly ) thus far. I don’t see this one happening, because the team would have to offer Cordero a contract worth at least eight million over two or more seasons. The suddenly frugal Sox would be well advised to open the purse strings in order to add this valuable arm to a bull pen in need.
Ryan Madson, who is known for his splendid changeup, would also be a good fit for Boston. The 31-year-old pitcher had a great season last year: he posted a 4-2 record with a 2.37 ERA and managed to save 32 games. Though Madson will probably demand around 10 million per year over three or four seasons, he would instantly strengthen the Sox’s bullpen and most likely become the closer. Another not-so-likely scenario. Madson would probably excel in Boston. He is seasoned as a closer in Philadelphia so he is used to and has proven he can handle the pressure. Alas, unless he comes off his huge asking price, he likely will be ending games for someone else.
Kerry Wood, who was once a dominant starting pitcher, has faced numerous physical injuries throughout his career. Fortunately for the former Yankee, Wood’s 2011 season was relatively a success. In 55 games he parlayed a record was 3-5 and his ERA was a solid 3.35. Though Wood is always a risk because of his history with injuries, he could be a serviceable relief pitcher for the Red Sox. Over the last 2 years, he has been a very servicable and valuable commodity. Sox fans would love this guys grit and gut mentality.
Andrew Bailey, whats not to like about a 27 year old fireballer who stands 6’4″ and weighs 240 lbs. Throws in the upper 90’s with a plus curveball. Last season he was 24 for 26 in save opportunities, has a WHIP of 0.95 and a career ERA of 2.07. Lifetime, he is 75 out of 84 in save opportunities and he has not reached his peak yet. He won’t come cheap, but is probably the best available closer on the market and might be the closest thing that Sox fans will get to forget about losing Jonathan Papalbon.
Koji Uehara -
Koji Uehara, a 36 year old reliever with a career ERA of 3.13 with a WHIP of 0.98. He has 188 k’s with just 26 BB in 174 lifetime innings. Last season, he sported an impressive ERA of 2.35 with an even better WHIP of 0.72. His contract is affordable at just over 4 million per season, and his age makes him a less expensive option then some of the aforementioned. He throws a nasty sinker/slider, changes speeds well keeping hitters off balance, and has tremendous control. He would be a terrific 7th -8th inning bridge to the set-up men and closer that the Sox dearly need.
Joel Hanrahan, Pirates closer was 40 for 44 last season. He had an ERA of 1.83 with a WHIP of 1.05. 61 k’s and 16 BB in 68.2 innings. His 1.4 mil. salary would fit in nicely with the teams new philosophy of tight purse strings. He is another hurler who is just coming into his own as a dominant closer, and as such, would require the commitment of several young players to make any deal with the Pirates work. Unlikely, but worth pursuing for Ben Cherington.