Among the biggest surprises this year for the Boston Red Sox came in reliever Burke Badenhop. Badenhop, 31, was acquired from the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for a Minor League reliever. Although it may not have seemed like a big move at the time, it turned out to be a great value trade fore Boston.
Although he struggled in his first few outings of the year (six earned runs in six innings), Badenhop is having an excellent season.
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His 2.33 ERA in 69 outings makes him the most dependable reliever on the team. His success comes as a result of his sinker. Badenhop alone has turned six double plays himself, not to mention the ones his fielders have turned while he is on the mound.
Most importantly, Badenhop hardly ever pitches to fly balls. Allowing just one home run this year while maintaining a ground out to air out ratio of 2.18, Badenhop tends to keep the ball on the ground.
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Pitching effectively against lefties and righties alike, Badenhop may be someone who Boston should consider locking up to a multi-year deal.
Since he is earning $2.15 million this season, perhaps locking him up to a three year deal worth $15 million total will do the trick. There is no doubt Boston could use his services once again next year.
Although $5 million a year for a seventh inning guy may seem a bit high, he has a proven track record in the AL. Posting a 3.03 ERA in 66 outings for the Tampa Bay Rays in 2012, Badenhop proved his worth in the American League, only to confirm it this year.
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By locking up Badenhop, Boston would be almost set for next season in the bullpen. Still though, they would need to decide whether or not they want to re-sign Koji Uehara and sign another lefty. Perhaps Andrew Miller makes a return to Boston via free agency to help balance out the Red Sox bullpen next year.