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Red Sox in pursuit of reliever Alexi Ogando

Another year, another reclamation project in the bullpen? Alexi Ogando could be the latest in a long line of Red Sox fixer-uppers.

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Red Sox are pursuing free agent relief pitcher Alexi Ogando according to Peter Gammons:

In his first four years in the majors, Ogando painted a promising picture with the Rangers. He threw 381 innings split between the rotation and bullpen, recording a 3.12 ERA on 303 strikeouts and 117 walks. Being jerked back and forth, however, seems to have ultimately caught up with Ogando. He endured multiple stints on the disabled list in 2013, and fell completely apart in 2014, finishing the year with just 25 innings pitched, and a 6.84 ERA with a walk rate of 5.40 per nine innings. This hardly came out of nowhere, given that Ogando had seen a sharp downturn in both velocity and strikeouts in 2013.

The Red Sox are said to be looking for a reliever capable of picking up strikeouts, and at times in his career Ogando has been just that. In fact, as a reliever Ogando has averaged 8.6 K/9, even with these recent struggles mixed in.

Obviously, if the Red Sox are interested in Ogando, it's because they expect he can get back to the level he was at before 2014--and 2013 for that matter. The best chance for that would likely be establishing him as a reliever and never looking back, which is not much of an issue given that the Red Sox have plenty of other minor league (or even major league) starters who could wind up in a swingman role if the situation calls for it.

Ogando made $2.6 million in his first arbitration eligible season, and given that he's coming off a disaster season that earned him a non-tender, the Red Sox would likely not have to invest too much to bring Ogando aboard. After that, if he's a success, then the team still has a year of arbitration in 2016. If he's the same broken Ogando of 2014, then the Red Sox can move on without much trouble.

Realistically, for a Red Sox team that's fine with pushing their budget on a one-year basis, Ogando costs little more than a roster spot. If said roster spot would otherwise be going to any of a half-dozen players without half of Ogando's major league success, then it's hard not to view this as an upgrade, even if a hugely uncertain one. Ogando, at least, comes with some significant upside. If he's back to his old self, he's instantly one of the best relievers on the team.

Still, it could be tough for the Red Sox to bring Ogando into Boston if the Dodgers are in the race as well. Both are highly competitive teams, but for a free agent reliever trying to rebuild his career, Fenway Park's reputation makes it seem far less inviting than the spacious Dodger Stadium.