Can the Red Sox Trust Koji Uehara?

koji uehara

Starting in July of 2013, there was a stretch where Boston Red Sox closer Koji Uehara appeared to be immortal. Rounding out the 2013 regular season by allowing just one run in his final 29 appearances, he took on the role of closer and had one of the most dominant stretches in big league history.
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Dominant, for Uehara, carried over well into the post-season where he was flawless once again and into the 2014 regular season. By June 16th, his ERA stood at a minute 0.57 and while the rest of the team was mediocre at best, he was still absolutely dominant.

After that date, he was still an excellent closer, one of the best in the league, but he startedkoji uehara to prove his one major flaw—he was mortal.
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Late in the year, Uehara who had been used to a much lighter workload, started to show signs of fatigue as he had a few suspect outings from August 16th onward. From that point in the season forward, he surrendered ten earned runs in his final 7.2 innings of work on the year, nine appearances in total.

Blowing three saves in that time span without recording a single one, he was demoted out of the closer role in favor of Edward Mujica, who was a perfect six for six in save opportunities from August 13th until the end of the season.
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Set to turn 40 years old before Opening Day this season, Uehara might pose a question mark for Boston headed into the 2015 season as he is getting up there in age and struggled quite a bit late in 2014.

What seemed to be the problem last year is that Boston used him too much over the past two seasons; he logged 152.1 frames out of the bullpen (playoffs and regular season) in 2013-2014. The previous two years, he went just 103.1 innings.

As of now, the Boston Red Sox still have a plan B in Edward Mujica, but they might be apt to deal him this spring if they are confident in Uehara. Hopefully, they hang onto Mujica—just in case they need him.
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If not, trading for Jonathan Papelbon is always an option…

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