Red Sox right-hander Koji Uehara made the single most lucrative relief appearance of his career in Tuesday night’s 4-2 victory over the Blue Jays.
Sitting on 54 relief appearances for the season and needing a total of 55 appearances to trigger a $4.25 million vesting option for 2014, Uehara entered in the bottom of the 10th inning with two outs on the board and the score tied 2-2. He struck out the only batter he faced — Jose Reyes — and then after the Red Sox rallied for two tallies in the top of the 11th the native of Neyawaga, Japan came back with a perfect closing frame to secure Boston’s 72nd win of 2013.
It was an impressive effort from a guy who has been impressive all season. Uehara, a big free agent bargain this past winter, now boasts a 1.32 ERA, 0.68 WHIP and 75/9 K/BB ratio in 54 2/3 innings with Boston.
Uehara can bump that vesting option to $5 million if he finishes 35 games. He has finished 24 so far.
Last month, free agent right-hander Bartolo Colon told reporters that he’d be open to taking a minor league deal in 2018, but only if he was guaranteed a return to the Mets’ system. The 44-year-old starter is nearing the end of a 20-year career, and it makes sense that he’d want to have one last hurrah in the city where he had some of his most productive years.
Now, Twins starter Ervin Santana tells Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press, it looks like the Mets might also be open to a reunion. It’s doubtful that Colon has all that much left in the tank, especially following a combined 7-14 record and 6.48 ERA for the Braves and Twins last year, but he’s not necessarily looking to reproduce the 15+ win, sub-4.00 ERA totals of years past.
Instead, Santana says, Colon is seeking the opportunity to win just six more games. He’ll enter the 2018 season five wins shy of the all-time record for a Latin American-born player, and is hoping to claim that title for himself before he enters retirement in 2019. Former Orioles and Expos hurler Dennis Martinez currently holds the record after clinching his 245th win back in 1998. While it took Colon a full season of starts to come up with even seven wins in 2017, he’s only one year removed from a 15-win campaign in 2016. Provided that the Mets are willing to gamble on him again, the milestone may not be that far out of reach.