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Koji Uehara, Burke Badenhop, David Ross declared free agents

Three Red Sox have been declared free agents. At least one is coming back.

Jared Wickerham

The offseason is here, and with it comes 121 new free agents, with Koji Uehara, Burke Badenhop, and David Ross coming from the Red Sox.

There's still plenty to be done between now and the point where free agents actually start signing with their new teams. The Red Sox have the option of making the departing players qualifying offers of $15.3 million, leaving them with draft pick compensation attached should they decline. Neither Burke Badenhop nor David Ross are going to see their market go nearly so high, however, and while it may have once seemed like the Red Sox could extend one to Koji Uehara, his late-season slump has likely left them reluctant to commit so much money to their closer, even if it comes on a one-year deal.

Still, it's not hard to imagine the Red Sox would be happy to have Uehara back on a smaller deal. The same is true for Burke Badenhop, who quietly posted a 2.29 ERA in 70 innings of work, leveraging his high ground ball rate to survive the unfamiliar environment of Fenway Park.

The situation is not quite as clear with David Ross. If, indeed, the Red Sox are fully comfortable with Christian Vazquez as their full-time starter and expect him to improve at the plate in 2015, then it's possible Ross returns to play the backup role. While Vazquez is an exceptional defender, David Ross is one of the few catchers with the chops to teach him some finer points. If, on the other hand, they're not comfortable with the idea of Vazquez getting 400-500 plate appearances, the Sox could well elect to go looking elsewhere for a backup or even starter.

Also present on the list is former Red Sox starter Ryan Dempster, who bowed out of active competition back before the season began, only finally announcing his retirement early in October.


Update 5:15 pm: Koji Uehara has already re-signed with the Red Sox for two years and $18 million. That was fast, but also welcome news.