Shut down closers are difficult to find, especially one like the right-handed arm of Koji Uehara.
July is a month marked by escalating speculation by the media since the non-waiver trade deadline is July 31. With the Red Sox mired in the American League East cellar and needing a prolonged winning streak just to reach .500, much has been written about the club potentially dealing the veteran right-hander for promising prospects like those the San Diego Padres received from the Los Angeles Angels for Huston Street.
The Red Sox are unlikely to deal Uehara, though, considering that they have won seven of their last eight games and sit 7.5 games behind first place Baltimore and six games in back of Seattle for the second wild card spot. Boston is also reportedly interested in bringing back Uehara in 2015, though he can become a free agent at season’s end and will turn 40 next April.
Since Uehara does not rely on velocity – the splitter is his out pitch, and that offering makes his 89 m.p.h. fast ball seem potent – he can still be effective.
As long as they keep winning, the Red Sox are also not likely to part with 29-year-old power left-hander Andrew Miller, who is having the best performance in his nine-year Major League career with a 2.13 ERA and 61 strikeouts in 38 innings.
Miller can also become a free agent after the 2014 season, and Peter Gammons projects that the former Detroit Tigers first round pick can command a salary of $6 million to $7 million a year. The Red Sox have the payroll flexibility to give Miller that number, and since he has closer potential, the club could deem he is worth bringing back at a higher rate.