Koji Uehara

Koji Uehara

Today we wrote about how the Red Sox priority has to be finishing off the construction of the bullpen. With some uncertainty involving the starting rotation, it would seem to make sense to have as good a read on the relievers heading into the season as possible.

(To read the entire column, click here.)

So far, this is what we know …

– Koji Uehara will come in as closer.

– Edward Mujica (he of the 1.78 ERA in his 79 post-All-Star break appearances) will join Junichi Tazawa as the primary set-up men.

– If Craig Breslow‘s ’14 is, indeed, an aberration he also enters into that group.

– Brandon Workman should get every opportunity to become the factor he was at the end of ’13.

– Newly-acquired Anthony Varvaro almost certainly will be in the equation as a viable ground ball-inducer, heading to camp out of options.

That’s six. There would seem to be room for one more.

Last Opening Day, the only differences in the group were the presence of Burke Badenhop, Chris Capuano and Andrew Miller. (Breslow started the year on the disabled list.)

While Varvaro might be viewed as a cheaper replacement for Badenhop (although the jack-of-all-trades free agent would seemingly still be valuable fit if re-signed), the Sox would seemingly be down one lefty. There are still free agent options (Phil Coke, Neal Cotts, Joe Beimel among them).

But this might be a spot the Sox look to fix with an internal option. For this very reason, the Drake Britton vs. Tommy Layne camp competition will be something to watch. If Britton impresses to the level which he did until the very end of spring training last year, he would certainly have the upper-hand considering 25 year old is out of options.

(As a quick aside, here are the players who are – or will be – on the 40-man roster and out of options: Varvaro, Britton, Breslow, Mujica and Daniel Nava.)

That would still seemingly leave one spot to find an impact arm, via promotion, trade or free agency. Matt Barnes might be an interesting option, although it is unclear if the Red Sox plan on continuing him down the road of a starter for the ’15 season. With options, he likes of Heath Hembree, Edwin Escobar and newly-acquired Zeke Spruill would have to separate themselves dramatically in camp to have a shot at opening with the big club.

Of the free agents, Badenhop might be the best option/fit. But one of an intriguing group just might slip through the cracks and add an unexpected element to this group …

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Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

Join Rob Bradford of WEEI.com for a live chat Tuesday, starting at noon. Ask Bradford any and all questions about the Red Sox, the Hot Stove season, or anything else. Get your questions in now …

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WEEI

Burke Badenhop would still seem to be a good fit for the Red Sox. (Michael Ivins/Getty Images)The Red Sox have committed approximately $60 million to nine new players for the 2015 season.



The Red Sox officially announced Friday night that they are sending Will Middlebrooks to San Diego in exchange for Ryan Hanigan.

The Red Sox officially announced Friday night that they are sending Will Middlebrooks to San Diego in exchange for Ryan Hanigan.

Completion of the deal was contingent on Middlebrooks passing his physical with the Padres. The 26-year-old recently said that he is still recovering from a wrist injury, although he didn’€™t view the ailment as an issue heading into 2015.

‘€œ€œI want to stay in Boston; I want to play in Boston,’€€ Middlebooks said a few weeks ago at David Ortiz‘€˜s charity golf event. ‘€œI came up here, and I know it’€™€™s pretty rare for someone to stay in one place their whole career. I understand that. But I’€™€™m still going to try. I don’€™€™t really fit the mix right now. It doesn’€™€™t seem that there’€™€™s a place for me now. But it’€™€™s a long time until April and a lot of things can happen.’€

After the Red Sox signed Pablo Sandoval, there wasn’€™t a full-time spot on the roster for the third baseman. Battling injuries the past two seasons Middlebrooks has batted .213 with 19 homers, 168 strikeouts and a .265 on-base percentage since the start of 2013.

‘€œIt’€™€™s not enjoyable to be replaced,’€€ he added. ‘€œBut like I said, I understand. I’€™€™m trying to look at the big picture for the organization, but selfishly I say, ‘€˜€˜What about me? What’€™€™s going to happen with me?’€™€™ I’€™€™m curious to see what’€™€™s going to happen.’€

The Red Sox have previously expressed interested in Hanigan (an Andover native), targeting the 34-year-old right-handed hitter to back up Christian Vazquez. Hanigan, who played with Tampa Bay last season after spending his previous seven big league seasons with the Reds, was traded to San Diego earlier this week.

Hanigan played in 84 games with the Rays, hitting .218 with five home runs. His career-high in games played came in ‘€™12, totaling 112 appearances. He carries a career .256 batting average and .694 OPS.

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

According to an industry source, the Red Sox have reached an agreement with Craig Breslow to bring back the left-hander on a one-year, $2 million deal.

According to an industry source, the Red Sox have reached an agreement with Craig Breslow to bring back the left-hander on a one-year, $2 million deal. The team had declined its one-year, $4 million option on Breslow following the 2014 season, in which Breslow struggled to a 2-4 record with a 5.96 ERA in 60 appearances. That struggle represented a career-worst year for a pitcher who had been one of the most consistent left-handed relievers in baseball for several years prior to that, forging a 2.82 ERA in an average of 65 games a year from 2008-13.

‘€œI’€™ve never before had to play the last game of such a miserable season,’€ Breslow said on the final day of the season. ‘€œThere were a lot of firsts this year. I’€™ve never struggled like this at any point of my career. I’€™ve never had a full season that ended up like this, especially one that had significant expectations going on. The best part of this season is that it’€™s done. ‘€¦

‘€œI’€™m not looking for sympathy. I recognize that in my mind, and I think quite pragmatically, 2014 was the complement to 2013. I wouldn’€™t undo any of that. I would gladly make that sacrifice. As much as this stinks, being able to contribute to a team that won a World Series is something that guys play for 20 years and never get a chance to do,’€ he added. ‘€œI think it’€™s kind of like I had the ultimate high of highs last year and the ultimate low of lows last year and in 2015 I’€™ll go back to being the same guy I was for six of the last seven years.’€

Breslow attended the Major League Baseball winter meetings to meet with potentially interested teams. On Friday, he narrowed his decision down to the Red Sox and Cubs before making the decision to return to the team that acquired him in a trade with the Diamondbacks at the July 31 deadline in 2012.

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford and Alex Speier

According to a major league source, David Ross has agreed to a two-year, $5 million deal with the Cubs.

According to a major league source, David Ross has agreed to a two-year, $5 million deal with the Cubs.

The 37 year old had narrowed his decision down to the Red Sox, Padres and Cubs prior to Friday. The Red Sox, however, appear to be on the verge of acquiring Ryan Hanigan from San Diego for third baseman Will Middlebrooks.

With the choice coming down to the Padres and Cubs, Ross made the move to join his former teammate Jon Lester in Chicago.

Ross battled various injuries during his two-year stint with the Red Sox, including concussions. He played in a combined 86 regular season games with the Sox, thriving during the team’s 2013 postseason run when the backstop took over starting duties for the final two rounds.

Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com was first to report the agreement.

The Cubs and Red Sox seemingly have at least one more free agent showdown, with another major league source suggesting reliever Craig Breslow has narrowed his decision down to the two teams. The Red Sox declined their $4 million option on the lefty earlier this offseason.

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

New Red Sox pitcher Wade Miley checked in with Rob Bradford, Alex Speier and Mike Mutnansky on Thursday’s Hot Stove show, and the left-hander clarified his view of the gluten controversy with his former team