Boston Red Sox Top-5 free agent reliever targets

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Aug 30, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates relief pitcher Antonio Bastardo (59) pitches against the Colorado Rockies during the eighth inning at PNC Park. Colorado won 5-0. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Antonio Bastardo

Age: 30
2015 Stats: 57.1 innings, 4-1, 2.98 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 10.0 K/9

It would behoove the Red Sox to include a lefty for consideration, considering Robbie Ross is the only left-handed reliever on the roster that seems to be a near lock to make the team next season. Bastardo is the best lefty reliever on the free agent market and he’s the type of power pitcher that Dombrowski covets, with a career 11.0 K/9 rate.

Bastardo’s career has fluctuated with inconsistency, but he’s posted a sub-3.00 ERA in three of the past five seasons and owns a respectable 3.28 ERA since 2011. His tantalizing strikeout ratio puts him annually among the league’s elite, but he tends to get himself into trouble by allowing too many free passes. Bastardo walked 26 batters this season and has a career rate of 4.3 BB/9.

His career splits show that Bastardo has been dominant against left-handed hitters, limiting lefties to a .178 average. However, he’s more than merely a lefty specialist, having held right-handed hitters to a .211 average.

Bastardo was once considered the closer of the future for the Philadelphia Phillies, but that never quite panned out, as he topped out with a career-high of 8 saves in 2011 and never reclaimed the role on a permanent basis after that. He may not be a feasible option to eventually replace Uehara in the 9th inning, but he can certainly help a Red Sox team in need of left-handed support in the middle innings.

Next: Joaquin Benoit