Friday, June 21, 2013
Red Sox closer situation
By Jason A. Churchill
Another blown save for Andrew Bailey Thursday night has cost him his job as the Boston Red Sox's closer, tweets Evan Drellich, and skipper John Farrell's in-house options may be down to Koji Uehara and Junichi Tazawa. The club may be the contender most in need of help at the back end of their bullpen, perhaps only surpassed by the Detroit Tigers.
The trade market has yet to take shape and may not for several weeks, so there may not be much GM Ben Cherington can do to get Farrell help from outside of the organization right away, if at all. A few of the potential relief arms that may become available include Colorado's Rafael Betancourt, San Diego's Huston Street, Jonathan Papelbon of the Philadelphia Phillies, Miami's Steve Cishek and perhaps Washington's Drew Storen. If the Blue Jays don't claw their way back into the race, Casey Janssen could be a target, too. Betancourt is currently on the disabled list with a groin injury but isn't expected to be out too much longer.
Street's availability is far from a sure thing with the Padres surging of late and sitting a game over .500 and right in the thick of the race entering play Friday. The same can be said for Betancourt and the Rockies and the Phillies appear set to ride it out as long as they can, despite a 7 1/2 game deficit in the division and an additional half game in the Wild Card race.
There are five-plus weeks until the trade deadline and a lot can happen between now and then, including the Sox finding an answer from within. Bailey still could be part of that answer, and the club could target a setup man to strengthen their pen such as White Sox right-hander Jesse Crain, who hasn't handled the ninth inning during his career, but has he stuff to do so and is having a career year.