If the team goes out and signs Hochevar (and I really hope they do) they will be in very good shape for next year. They will be a little bit heavy on right-handers, but Layne showed the ability to be the lefty specialist out of the pen in September. That said, either a trade or a second signing would do this team good. If the team wanted to, it could sign both Duke and Hochevar, and trot out a truly dominant bullpen. And it would likely cost the same (or less) as signing K-Rod, Casey Janssen or even Koji.
Sep 19, 2014; Baltimore, MD, USA; Boston Red Sox pitcher Junichi Tazawa (36) pitches in the ninth inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. The Red Sox won 5-3 in ten inning. Mandatory Credit: Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports
Whether it’s Hochevar or not, I really hope the team chooses to acquire a few high quality relievers as opposed to one expensive, established closer. Closers are a position that is difficult to predict, and because of that I don’t want to invest significant money at the position, even on Uehara. He is clearly slowing down, and is getting up there in age, and as the Tigers saw with Joe Nathan, the age wall can creep up out of nowhere.
This is the bullpen I would prefer to see, sans Koji:
Sep 12, 2014; Kansas City, MO, USA; Boston Red Sox pitcher Tommy Layne (59) delivers a pitch against the Kansas City Royals during the seventh inning at Kauffman Stadium. Boston won 4-2. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports
RHP (Long Relief): Brandon Workman
LHP: Zach Duke
LHP: Drake Britton
LHP: Tommy Layne
RHP (seventh inning): Junichi Tazawa
RHP (eighth inning): Luke Hochevar
Closer: Edward Mujica
If (or when) Mujica struggles, plug in Hochevar, slide Tazawa back into the eighth and give the seventh to Duke. The Red Sox also still have Rubby De La Rosa (who looks like he could be a dominant pitcher out of the bullpen), Anthony Ranaudo, Alex Wilson, and potentially Matt Barnes, Eduardo Rodriguez and Henry Owens until they are ready to start.
Sep 27, 2014; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox catcher Christian Vazquez (55) and relief pitcher Rubby De La Rosa (62) celebrate after defeating the New York Yankees at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
There is depth built into this group and I would rather pay for quantity (with the potential for quality) than to pay for (risky) quality.
But what do YOU think?