Red Sox unlikely to pick up Craig Breslow’s team option


Craig Breslow had a huge 2013 season as the Red Sox won the World Championship; however, his follow-up season this year was a major disappointment and it could briefly have him out of a job this offseason.

Breslow, who signed a 2 year/$6.25M contract with a $4M option for 2015 before the 2013 season, was a key part of the Red Sox bullpen at the end of 2012, after being acquired in a trade with the Arizona Diamondbacks, and for the entirety of last season. He posted a 2.70 ERA down the stretch in 2012 and was even better in 2013, lowering that ERA to a stingy 1.81, but his peripherals– a mediocre 5.0 K/9 and 3.60 FIP– suggested that that performance may not be repeatable.

Those lackluster peripherals more than caught up to Breslow in 2014 as his ERA ballooned to 5.96 and, while his K/9 improved to 6.1, his BB/9 also rose from 2.7 to 4.6, as he walked almost two more batters per nine innings than he had done the previous year.

Breslow is unlikely to be quite that bad going forward, but he also is unlikely to return to his previous heights. Next season, he’ll probably be between the two extremes– firmly in middle reliever territory. And while middle relievers are useful, they are generally quite replaceable and certainly not worth $4M.

The Red Sox would be wise to attempt to retain Breslow at a lower price, as he is a stable veteran that should still be a solid left-handed reliever. However, $4M is simply too much to pay for a decent arm like Breslow and the Red Sox would be right to decline his team option.