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Red Sox not expected to target high-priced relievers

11.12.13 at 8:14 pm ET
By
Ben Cherington

Ben Cherington

ORLANDO — Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington told reporters Tuesday at the general managers meetings that he was hoping to add some bullpen help during this offseason.

But according to a major league source, the Sox’ targets aren’t likely to be any free agents who might be currently considered closers or of the late-inning variety. Instead, the Red Sox are expected to go after less costly relievers, the likes of which might be currently considered sixth- or seventh-inning options.

Cherington is hoping, however, that some of the potential acquisitions can evolve into high-leverage options, as was the case with current closer Koji Uehara. (Uehara began the 2013 season pitching in the sixth inning.)

“We want as many guys as possible that we think have the potential and the stuff to pitch in high-leverage situations,” Cherington said. “However the roles get played out, the bullpen almost never looks the same at the end of the year as it does in the beginning of the year. The more guys we have that capability, even if they don’t have the resume or the track record, the better. Now, easier said than done. Those guys who have proven they can do that obviously cost a lot more than guys that haven’t. It’s up to me to do a better job of figuring that part out.”

Some of the free agent relievers who are expected to entertain late-inning-reliever-type of money are Grant Balfour, Joaquin Benoit, Joe Nathan, Fernando Rodney, Edward Mujica and Jesse Crain.

The Red Sox currently have Junichi Tazawa, Craig Breslow and Brandon Workman setting up Uehara, with Andrew Miller ready to re-enter the mix after recovering from a foot injury. Andrew Bailey doesn’t figure to be ready for the season’s first few months, recovering from Tommy John surgery.

Drake Britton, Alex Wilson, Brayan Villareal, Franklin Morales and Rubby De La Rosa are all currently on the 40-man roster and will be considered for relief roles, as well.

One pitcher who may eventually help in a relief role but will be viewed as a starter heading into the season is newly-signed Cuban right-hander Dalier Hinojosa. (For a scouting report on Hinojosa, click here.)

“He’s been a starter this Cuba. He’ll likely come to camp as a starter,” said Cherington of the 27 year old. “If he’s not on the team, he’ll likely be a starter at the minor league level. We’ll take a look at him in big league camp.

“Our scouts like his stuff, think it’s an opportunity to acquire someone without a big league contract. A talented pitcher we can control who we think is close to major league ready. If he is what our scouts think he is, then he’s an affordable pitching option over the next several years.”

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