It's hard to predict bullpens, but if you're going to engage in the activity, the Red Sox relief corps is one that can safely be deemed great. There were issues last year thanks to a lack of depth, especially after a spring injury to Andrew Bailey, but general manager Ben Cherington seems to have rectified those concerns heading into 2013 through signings, trades, and some late-season 2012 developments that were, unlike most of the team in September, worth paying attention to.
Joel Hanrahan, who owns a 166 ERA+ with a strikeout per inning over his two full years as Pirates' closer, is on board after the Red Sox acquired him in a six-player deal before the new year. Hanrahan will bump Bailey from the closer role, making Bailey (who sports a career 172 ERA+ and strikeout-to-walk ratio over 3.0) part of a three-headed setup beast. The other two pieces are free agent signing Koji Uehara and Junichi Tazawa. Uehara might have the best control of anyone in the majors, as he's walked just 27 batters unintentionally total in 157 games and 211 innings. Uehara has a history of being difficult to hit as well, making the homers less of a problem since they tend to be solo shots. Even with that, Uehara has spent his entire career in hitter's parks, and has yielded just 1.1 homers per nine despite his command -- the homers only appear problematic from a comparative point of view.
Daniel Bard could put the Red Sox bullpen over the top
SB Nation | Feb 7