Koji Uehara has been phenomenal with the Red Sox this season, and has locked down the back-end of the bullpen both as a setup man and as the team's closer. Now, he will reportedly be around in 2014 to do the same, as WEEI's Alex Speier has confirmed earlier reports from Nick Cafardo and Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe that stated Uehara had a vesting option that kicked in at 55 appearances.
Uehara has pitched in 54 games in 2013, so his next appearance will lock him in place for 2014 at the low cost of $4.25 million, the same as his 2013 salary -- should he finish another 12 games in 2013, that jumps to a still low $5 million. Vesting options can oftentimes be a poor idea for teams, especially without rigorous thresholds for vesting, but this is perfect. It showed confidence in Uehara remaining healthy without having to actively bet on that happening, and it allows Uehara to skip out on free agency for his age-39 season. All of that goes down without the Sox spending more on Uehara to boot, despite his fantastic campaign.
Speaking of, Uehara owns a 1.35 in his 54 games, and has saved a dozen games since becoming the Boston stopper after the injuries to both Andrew Bailey and Joel Hanrahan. Knowing he's around for next year should make general manager Ben Cherington's off-season planning a little easier.
I hope the scene in the Red Sox front office looks like this when the option vests...
...because if my cats could high five, it's what my office would look like right now.
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