As the season is right now the Red Sox sit with a record of 39-49 which puts them in last place in the American League East. If the Red Sox aren't able to purchase a bat from another team real soon to protect David Ortiz they are going to have to become sellers.
One of the players who people may forget about selling is 39-year old closer, Koji Uehara. Uehara has been dynamite ever since joining the Red Sox bullpen.
He is getting fatigued though as he has been used a ton. Uehara has already pitched in 40 games and has piled up 41.2 innings so far. The 40 games pitched places Uehara tied 13th in the AL in that category. Forty games may not seem like a lot but it is for a 39-year old closer. Last season, Uehara pitched in a career high 73 games and recorded a career-high in innings pitched with 74.1.
Uehara has allowed four runs in his past 10 innings pitched after going 21 innings without allowing a run lowering his ERA to 0.57.
Red Sox manager, John Farrell, isn't worried about Uehara though.
"There's been a lot of times he's expressed that [about fatigue] with some regularity of use," Farrell said. "Can't say he's been overused, but the one this Koji has been very clear on is that anytime he does find something, he's expressive. We wouldn't put him in harms way."
Since being named the closer last season, he was just unbelievable and posted career-high in ERA and strikeouts with 101 and 109 respectively. Uehara was in the final vote for the All-Star game last season in which he lost to Toronto then closer, Steve Delebar. Uehara will join fellow Red Sox pitcher Jon Lester, on this year's All-Star team.
The market come the trade deadline for relief pitching, never mind the market for arguably the best closer in the game, is going to be hot. Teams in the playoff hunt will pay the price to get that relief pitcher to bring out of the bullpen to secure them a win.
In 2007, when the Red Sox were able to pull the trigger and get Eric Gagne they gave up one of their best prospects in David Murphy.
In 20111, when the Red Sox were able to pull the trigger and acquire Andrew Bailey from the Oakland Athletics they had to part ways with eventual 25-home run hitter, Josh Reddick.
In 2012, when the Red Sox were able to pull the trigger and grab Joel Hanrahan from the Pittsburgh Pirates they parted ways with top-20 prospects at the time, Stolmy Pimentel and Ivan De Jesus.
So those are some of the prices the Red Sox paid for relief pitching at the time. Just think what teams like the Los Angeles Dodgers, Detroit Tigers and Los Angeles Angels who are all looking to improve their bullpens will pay for a top-notch reliever like Uehara.
The Red Sox singed Uehara to a one-year, $4.25 million dollar contract back in 2012.
With Uehara at age 39, how much longer will he be of value to the Red Sox especially if they go into a rebuilding stage? Why not just let the man go somewhere where he can win and win now. He sure deserves it.