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We continue our week-long look at the Red Sox bullpen with newcomer Dan Wheeler, the former setup man for the Tampa Bay Rays.
In a sort-of surprise signing, the Red Sox swooped in and took Dan Wheeler from the Rays this past off-season, and it was a great move. He has been a solid pitcher throughout his 10-year career, which started in Tampa Bay. The 33-year-old comes in this season with a little lesser of a role than he may be used to, given the addition of Bobby Jenks, but he should have plenty of opportunity to contribute. Between Jenks, Jonathan Papelbon and Daniel Bard, the three of them will need rest and Wheeler is capable of being plugged in any of those roles.
The Rhode Island native has a career ERA of 3.84, a record of 23-41, 43 saves and 115 holds. Last season he went 2-4 with three saves and nine holds with an ERA of 3.35. Throughout his career he hasn’t put up spectacular numbers, but he has always contributed. He won’t go out there and strike out the side, but he has been a solid pitcher. His best season came in 2005 with the Houston Astros, when he went 2-3 with an ERA of 2.21 and WHIP of 0.98. He also had three saves and 17 holds in 73.1 innings of work.
So this season, I don’t expect him to put up big numbers, but he’ll be reliable. He is a proven veteran who has pitched in the AL East, so his veteran presence will be beneficial in the pen. Look for him to go 2-1 with an ERA of 3.02 and have 10 holds and a save.