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About Rob Bradford

Rob Bradford joined WEEI.com after serving as a Red Sox beat writer for the Boston Herald and the Eagle-Tribune (Lawrence, Mass.). Prior to manning the Red Sox beat, he spent several years at the Lowell Sun. He has written two books: “Chasing Steinbrenner,” following the front offices of the Red Sox and Toronto Blue Jays through the 2003 season, and “Deep Drive: A Long Journey to Discovering the Champion Within,” which he co-authored with Red Sox third baseman Mike Lowell.

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04/18/14 08:40 EST
"What next level is there?" -- Jon Lester to WEEI.com, 2013 spring training Jon Lester has officially answered his own question. It might be time we change how we view the Red Sox starter. When Lester made the comments -- exuding befuddlement as to where his career could possibly go after an already healthy run of consistency -- he was coming off the one frustrating season of his big league career. After four straight years of 15 wins or better, with no ERA of over 3.47, the lefty had hit a bump in the road in '12. Still, he was confident solutions were on the verge of being uncovered. After the interview, Lester jumped back on his usual path in '13. The regular-season numbers finished up remarkably close to his usual landing spot, as he went 15-8 with a 3.75 ERA. There also was another round of postseason dominance, something Lester had dabbled in that before, not allowing an earned run during two American League Division Series starts in 2008. But Lester's point was well taken:
04/12/14 11:38 EST
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NEW YORK -- If they want to keep Jon Lester -- truly keep Jon Lester -- the Red Sox are obviously going to have to do better. Potentially a lot better. According to a major league source, the Red Sox' most recent offer to Lester regarding an extension past the $13 million he is making in 2014 was for four years at $70 million. That isn't going to get it done. The Red Sox had to know that. This isn't Dustin Pedroia sitting two and a half years away from free agency, or the reality that was Jacoby Ellsbury awaiting his seven-year, $153 million offer from the Yankees. This isn't even the Lester who signed a five-year, $30 million back in '08. This is a player who has players and contracts that he can compare to his own situation, and someone who is confident in possessing a pretty healthy understanding of the process. "That's what you go through now. You go through all the information," Lester said. "You gather all the comparables. You gather all the stats you can, and you go
04/12/14 02:41 EST
NEW YORK -- The word was passed down to the members of the Red Soxbullpen just before Friday night's National Anthem -- Koji Uehara would not be available to close out any Sox win at Yankee Stadium that evening. He had shoulder stiffness. For the general public, the news wasn't uncovered until the announcement that Edward Mujica would be the one being leaned on to nail down the ninth inning of what ultimately turned out to be a 4-2 Red Sox victory. But by the time Mujica took the mound, the participants had already dug in for the beginning of what could be a very uneasy reality. "When I signed with this team they told me, 'We're going to have a lot of opportunities in the bullpen.' The job I did last year they said, 'Mujica can do the job if Koji goes down.' But everybody is ready to go to do whatever role," said Mujica, who would come on to throw a 1-2-3 ninth in picking up his first save as a member of the Sox. This time, the backup plan worked. But now comes the obvious
04/10/14 07:34 EST
So, this is what it feels like. The Red Sox are heading to New York to take on the Yankees as the team with Mariano Rivera. It is a reality that seemed implausible when Jonathan Papelbon -- still the measuring stick for all Red Sox closers -- was in town, and appeared downright impossible once he left. But that's exactly what has happened thanks to a guy named Koji Uehara. "You actually have to beat him. It's kind of like when Mariano was out there," said Red Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski. "You knew, here it comes. You have to either beat him or he'd beat you." Uehara's place in the Mount Rushmore of game-enders can't be compared to Rivera, or even Papelbon. The retired Yankees closer did it for a baseball lifetime, while the former Red Sox hurler closed out games longer than any other reliever in franchise history (six years). Yet, Uehara deserves mention with both of them. It could be argued that nobody -- not Rivera, not Papelbon -- has executed life as a closer like



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