You’ve got your Mike Napoli’s, your Stephen Drew’s, Joel Hanrahan’s and Ryan Dempster’s, but Uehara just might prove to be a major X-factor for the Red Sox this season. It was a very low-key move, triggered by general manager Ben Cherington, which could pay major dividends for Boston.
The Red Sox bullpen, if healthy, could end up being the most effective bullpen in all of baseball. With several names camped out in Fenway’s right field bullpen with closing experience, Uehara trumped all of them this spring. The right-hander logged 9.2 innings over 10 appearances without yielding a run, while punching out 12 batters and allowing just two walks.
Bill James has Uehara appearing in 40 games for Boston in 2013, and predicts a 2.25 ERA and 39 strikeouts over 49 innings, and just six walks. If Uehara comes even remotely close to James’ predictions, the Red Sox may have found their secret weapon.