|Connelly’s Top Ten: Red Sox Can’t Bunt, Brady Scares New England, Decorated War Vets Come to Boston||Joe Kelly and His Moustache Continue to Impress||Hanley Moving to First! Red Sox Defense is Saved!||Connelly’s Top Ten: Patriots 3rd Game, Trades, 9/11 Fallout|
In 2012, the Red Sox bullpen was a disaster. After the injury to Andrew Bailey in spring training, Alfredo Aceves became the closer and ended up leading the American League in blown saves. The team blew 22 saves all together, which was tied for 3rd worst in MLB. The closer in waiting was supposed to be Daniel Bard, who decided he wanted to be a starter instead. That did not work out that well (understatement of the century). With offseason additions, a healthy Bailey, a revitalized Bard and Aceves back in a more comfortable role, the bullpen should be improved.
Andrew Bailey – 28-year-old RHP, traded from Oakland to Boston last offseason, hurt in spring training, never made an impact last season, previously had three straight 20+ save seasons, needs to stay healthy and become a consistent closer for the Red Sox
Rubby De La Rosa – 23-year-old RHP, traded to Boston from Los Angeles in the mega-deal last season, had Tommy John surgery in 2011 and only pitched a few times in 2012, before the surgery he started for the Dodgers and had dominant stuff touching 100 mph on his fastball, could be the eventual closer if Bailey does not work out
Acquisition – The name that has been thrown around as of late is Pirates closer Joel Hanrahan. Hanrahan is 31 years old, has saved 40 games in 2010 and 36 games in 2011.
Daniel Bard – 27-year-old RHP, began last season as a starter after three dominant years out of the bullpen, able to throw 95+ consistently and touches 100 mph at times, had extreme control issues last season, needs to become that 8thinning guy that he once was
Alfredo Aceves – 30-year-old RHP, recorded 25 saves last season for Boston but was never consistent in the closer role, 5.36 ERA in 2012 after a 2.61 ERA in 2011, in a more comfortable role in 2013 (7thinning) he should revert back to his previous success
Junichi Tazawa – 26-year-old RHP, outstanding season last year, posting a 1.43 ERA in 37 appearances, if Bard falters again Tazawa could step into that 8thinning role
Koji Uehara – 37-year-old RHP, signed for 1 year, 4.25 million this offseason, has had previous success in the AL East pitching for Baltimore, outstanding acquisition, should play a key role in the bullpen in 2013, possibly another 8thinning guy
Mark Melancon – 27-year-old RHP, another bullpen acquisition during the last offseason, had an absolutely atrocious season posting a 6.20 ERA in 41 appearances, was sent down to Pawtucket for a good portion of the season, he needs to regain his confidence and hopefully can contribute in Boston next season
Andrew Miller – 27-year-old LHP, became a full-time reliever last season after being utilized as a starter throughout his career, finally began to command his stuff consistently last season, cutting down on his walks, hopefully he can continue his success from last season, should be the best lefty out of the pen
Craig Breslow – 32-year-old LHP, traded to Boston from Arizona mid-season last year, was very successful not only against lefties but against righties as well, very valuable piece to any solid bullpen
Franklin Morales – 26-year-old LHP, dominant against lefties, was turned into a starter toward the end of the year due to necessity, has electric stuff, should stay in the bullpen in 2013, 6th/7thinning guy
The bullpen consists of veterans and young pitchers all with above average to simply dominating stuff. They have been proven to be effective, and if they pitch up to their potential, should make up a talented bullpen.
The major issue could come down to the closer.
Bailey has not proven that he can be a closer for this team yet. The rumors surrounding Hanrahan show that the Red Sox front office is not sure on Bailey either. If he cannot take back the role he was supposed to have been given last offseason, then the trickle-down effect may produce another mediocre bullpen.