December 7, 2012
Red Sox Get Koji
Agreed with RP-R Koji Uehara to a one-year contract worth $4.5 million. [12/6]
Among other problems infecting the team, last year's Boston bullpen ranked 13th in baseball in TAv Against. The Red Sox took an incremental step toward improvement by signing Koji Uehara.
Incremental because, since coming over from Japan four seasons ago, Uehara has landed on the 15-day disabled list four times and made the 60-day once. His hamstring has been a reoccurring issue, and last season his shoulder gave him problems. So the issue has been keeping him on the mound, but when he’s made it that far he’s pitched very well. In three seasons as a reliever, Uehara has struck out more than 11 per nine innings, despite a fastball that rarely brushes against 90 mph. He gets batters out with pinpoint control of his fastball and by collecting whiffs—on a whopping 40 percent of swings in 2012—with his split-finger. The combination has been equally effective against left-handed hitters in his career (.204 TAv) as against same-sided guys (.183 TAv). Since his switch to the bullpen in 2010, his peripheral numbers have held steady, even as had moved from mid-30s to late-30s.