When Koji Uehara signed with the Red Sox as a free agent last winter, it was reported simply as a one-year, $4.25 million contract. However, the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo has learned that the deal also included a $4.25 million option that will vest with his next appearance, his 55th of the season.
WEEI’s Alex Speier adds that incentives will make the option worth $5 million if he reaches 35 games finished this year (he’s at 23 right now and should get to 35 as long as he remains in the closer’s role).
Either way, the 38-year-old Uehara is a bargain. This year, he has a 1.35 ERA and a 74/9 K/BB ratio in 53 1/3 innings. He’s had arm problems from time to time since coming to the majors in 2009, but in 199 career relief appearances, he’s amassed a 2.09 ERA and struck out more than 10 batters for every unintentional walk he’s issued. Despite his age and durability concerns, he was seemingly setting himself up for a deal in the two-year, $12 million range. That the Red Sox will already have him locked up will make their winter a little easier.