Boston Red Sox Top-5 free agent reliever targets

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Oct 18, 2015; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets relief pitcher Tyler Clippard throws a pitch against the Chicago Cubs in the 8th inning in game two of the NLCS at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Tyler Clippard

Age: 30
2015 Stats: 71.0 IP, 5-4, 2.92 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 8.1 K/9

Clippard has been one of the best setup men in baseball over the past seven seasons. After flaming out as a starter to begin his career, the Washington Nationals shifted him to the bullpen in 2009, where he has thrived.

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The two-time All-Star owns a career 2.67 ERA and 10.0 K/9 ratio as a reliever. While he has primarily served as a bridge to the 9th inning, Clippard has saved 53 games in his career, including 32 saves back in 2012. With age and injury concerns surrounding incumbent closer Koji Uehara, it would be wise for the Red Sox to bring in another reliever that can be trusted to take the ball at the end of the game.

Clippard started the year as the closer for the Oakland Athletics, but was dealt to the New York Mets before the deadline. He picked up a couple of saves following his move back to the NL East, but wasn’t the primary closer for his new team. His tenure in New York started out in dominant fashion, as he surrendered only a single run through his first 19.2 innings. Clippard stumbled a bit down the stretch, coughing up multiple runs on three separate occasions in September and producing a 6.59 ERA for the month.

Those struggles have followed Clippard into the postseason, where he has given up 3 runs in 5.1 innings during the Mets run to the World Series. Prior to this year he had only allowed 1 run over 6 career postseason innings and still owns a career 3.18 ERA in the playoffs, so there is little doubt that he’s capable of delivering on the big stage.

The late season fade may reduce the price tag for Clippard this winter, but banking on his larger sample of career accomplishments should prove to be a wise investment.

Next: Darren O'Day