As discussed in today’s link dump (and on the podcast), the Red Sox bullpen is in a state of upheaval. Both players to serve as their capital-C Closer this season are hurt, with Andrew Bailey on the disabled list and Joel Hanrahan possibly headed there as well.
Because relievers abhor role uncertainty like nature abhors a vacuum, Sox manager John Farrell told MLB Network radio (via Over the Monster) today that Junichi Tazawa will get the nod as the new man in the ninth inning. Tazawa has sparkling numbers, not just this season but last year also. As Dave Cameron notes in his very interesting post on the impact of Asian pitchers, Tazawa has a 65/8 strikeout to walk ratio since the start of the 2012 season.
Tazawa is a fine choice for closer, though the official Getting Blanked candidate Koji Uehara might be better. Uehara is a much older man, one requiring a little bit more finesse in terms of his usage and rest patterns. Junichi Tazawa is much younger (just 26 compared to Uehara’s 38 years-awesome) and should be able to handle the three-days-in-a-row rigors of closing better than the artfully-deployed Uehara.
As stated previously, the Red Sox bullpen will still be fine – losing two good pitchers hurts any team but having two other good pitchers to rely on cushions the blow quite a bit. To the fantasy waiver wire we go!