The Mess That is the Boston Red Sox Closer Role

By Shaun P Kernahan
John Farrell
Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports

Last night, Andrew Bailey blew yet another save and has been removed from the closer role. Bailey was acquired by the Boston Red Sox before last season from the Oakland A’s, but missed the majority of the season due to reconstructive surgery on his thumb. This season he has four blown saves in 12 opportunities and an ERA over four.

Before the start of the season, the Red Sox decided Bailey might not be the guy, so they went out and traded for All-Star closer Joel Hanrahan. Hanrahan’s season ended after just nine games in which he racked up just four saves on six attempts and an ERA over nine.

The Red Sox have also given Junichi Tazawa a shot at the ninth inning, and despite a season ERA of 2.51, he failed to record a save in three opportunities.

Now the Red Sox turn to the 38-year-old out of Osaka, Japan, Koji Uehara. He has had a very good season, with an ERA that sits at just 2.10 this season, but even Uehara has managed to blow one of the two save opportunities he has had so far this season.

Once a  top prospect and potential future closer, Daniel Bard has not exactly wowed anyone this year with an ERA over six down at AA, the answer certainly isn’t in the system.

Former pitching coach and current manager John Farrell will really have to prove his worth here with the pitching staff. I have already written about the trouble the starting staff is in, and now it appears the bullpen is just as big a mess. Look for the Red Sox to try to bring in a reliever, but please God, don’t make it Jonathan Papelbon, we don’t need to sink more money into a closer, and the price in prospects it would take to get him would negate the great draft the Sox had this year.

Follow Shaun on twitter @shaunkernahan.

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