The streak of years without arbitration will extend to nine as the last eligible player, Craig Breslow, and the Red Sox have agreed on a two-year deal. Breslow’s contract will be a base salary of $6.25 million and could be worth as much as $10.15 million if he reaches all of his incentives. The Red Sox acquired Breslow on the trade deadline last season for Matt Albers and Scott Podsednik. Podsednik was promptly released by the Diamondbacks after refusing an option to the minor leagues, and re-signed with the Red Sox, making it essentially a one-for-one deal of Breslow for Albers, one the Red Sox clearly won.
In 2012, Breslow’s numbers were nearly identical between Arizona and Boston. In 43.1 innings for the D-Backs and 20 innings for the Red Sox, his ERA was the same, a very respectable 2.70 mark. He also posted very similar strikeout and walk rates between the two teams, numbers which evened out at 8.67 per nine innings and 3.13 per nine innings.
The acquisitions of Koji Uehara and Joel Hanrahan have lessened Breslow’s role, but this contract makes it clear that the Red Sox still have definitive plans for him. Breslow is the unusual and useful mix of a left-handed relievers who is also good against righties (lefties hit .214 against him while righties hit .224). This gives him a greater role than just your average left-handed reliever who pitches against the tough lefties and then sits down and puts a towel on his arm.
It seems most likely that Breslow’s role would be as a middle reliever with Uehara and Andrew Bailey serving as set-up men and Hanrahan closing. Just the fact that Craig Breslow will serve as a middle reliever is a testament to how good the Red Sox bullpen looks. With a bullpen like this, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Red Sox with a great record in close games, and this contract will keep Breslow a part of it for a couple of years.