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Former White Sox closer Bobby Jenks has reportedly agreed to a two-year contract with the Red Sox for $12 million, according to ESPN.com’s Buster Olney. Jenks, who will be 31 before the season starts, posted a career-worst 4.44 ERA last season with Chicago, where he spent his entire major league career.
The White Sox non-tendered Jenks, making him a free agent, after they saw his ERA, WHIP, and opponent’s batting average rise and save totals drop the last three years:
Despite the high ERA, Jenks did see his strikeout/9 total soar above 10 last year, so it appears there is still a lot of zip in his arm. Unless the Red Sox trade Jonathan Papelbon, which they are apparently openly considering, Jenks will slot in as a solid righthanded option out of the bullpen for Terry Francona.
Jenks posted a career-best 0.89 WHIP in 2007, but it appears those days are behind him. If the Red Sox can get someone who strikes out at least one batter per inning pitching in the seventh inning or later consistently throughout the season, then they will see proper return on their investment. If Jenks, however, reverts to the 4.40 ERA version of himself, then Francona will have another frustrating case of a talented pitcher not living up to his potential on his hands.
Don’t expect the Red Sox to be done. Expect them to target a lefthanded reliever (perhaps Brian Fuentes) to help round out a bullpen that ranked among one the league’s worst last season.