The Boston Red Sox might be in ‘selling mode’ currently, but that doesn’t mean they plan to spend the 2015 season at the bottom of the American League East standings. Hoping to re-tool for next season, the Red Sox want to field a competitive team and that may result in them not trading closer Koji Uehara.
Despite his age, Koji Uehara has continued to be one of the most dominant closers in baseball and given his free agent status at season end, multiple teams have inquired about trading for the veteran. He’d make a wonderful late season addition to any bullpen in need, but the Boston Red Sox aren’t exactly overflowing with potential closer candidates next season.
Sure, they acquired Heath Hembree in the Jake Peavy deal with the San Francisco Giants, but he’s proven to be hittable at the Triple-A level and shouldn’t be thrust into the ninth-inning role without some proper seasoning.
Given that, it’s the belief of Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan that Koji Uehara may not be traded and could very well re-sign with the Red Sox at season end.
Would the Red Sox actually give him a qualifying offer for around $15 million? It’s a rather ludicrous conceit to give any one-inning-at-a-time pitcher a quarter-million dollars an inning, but the Red Sox want to reload for 2015, and their bullpen is positively bereft of a closing candidate. With the best closers fetching at least $10 million a year in free agency, getting Uehara for a year, and not being stuck long-term with something as historically volatile as a relief pitcher, is not the sucker bet it may seem.
It’s a sentiment that seems to make a considerable amount of sense considering the return for Uehara isn’t going to vast (thanks to his age and free agent status) and Boston may be best served by sitting on their hands regarding any Koji Uehara trades.