Over the last year and a half, one of the most reliable parts of the Boston Red Sox has been the relief performance of Koji Uehara. Ever since he has stepped in the role as closer, he has been one of the best in all of MLB. However, lately he has been knocked around — a lot.
It is noticeable that his splitter — which is very much his out-pitch — is not moving much at all and batters are nailing it. He says that he is not fatigued, but let’s face the facts. He is 39 years old and has been used a lot since becoming closer. I am actually surprised that this year he pretty much picked up where he left off given his workload last October.
The Red Sox aren’t going anywhere this year and should be focusing on 2015. They want Uehara to be a part of that team and he will play a very important role. It just makes sense to shut Uehara down for most of the rest of this season. Give him some appearances now and then, but the main objective should be getting him ready for next year.
The thing that I find sort of puzzling is the fact that Boston must have known something like this could happen, because they went out and signed Edward Mujica as sort of a backup closer. Given Uehara’s age and injury history, they knew that a potential breakdown could happen. So why not take advantage of the fact that you have Mujica and get Uehara some rest?
Uehara should be a part of next year. But if Boston is going to contend, they need him with a lot in the tank.