|JARED WICKERHAM/GETTY IMAGES|
"In terms of the process, it was exciting, it was unsettling," was how Craig Breslow described his free agency experience that ended yesterday when he signed back with the Red Sox.
Not exactly the enthusiasm of a player scoring his big deal by going out into the open market.
Free agency was not a choice he made, but one forced upon him when the Red Sox did not exercise the $4 million option on his contract.
This did not phase Breslow in the least as he enthusiastically embraced free agency after his worst season in the majors where he posted a 5.96 ERA in 60 relief appearances over 54 1/3 innings. He made personal sales pitches at the winter meetings to interested teams to explain his outlier of a season in 2014.
"I feel like if I were coming off of my 2013 season, it probably would have been a much more opportunistic and exciting time. But the body of work I had over seven or eight years spoke to the capability of me as a pitcher."
Breslow felt that 2014 was due to never getting a healthy start after being worn down from the 2013 World Series run late into 2013.
"Last year, I started throwing after the New Year and felt like I never really caught up to where I would like to be, having gotten such a late start (and) not feeling so great when I picked up a ball," Breslow summed up 2014. "It was never like I picked up the ball, started throwing and never looked back. I hit some bumps along the way. But ever since I picked up a ball on Nov. 1, I’ve been able to build up arm strength, increase distance, intensity and volume every step of the way and feel really good."
He said he met with Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington toward the end of the 2014 season, but it was only after the lefty tested the open market that the sides realized there was a match.
"A part of my decision-making (in free agency) was influenced by feeling like I owed something to this organization based on how I left in 2014," explained Breslow.
The fact is that the Red Sox explored all other avenues before circling back around to sign the 34-year-old lefty to a one year $2 million dollar contract, quite the bargain compared to the $4 million dollar option.
He was realistic in the face of his down year and the fizzle of interest in the market for his services.
"Everyone will go through a career with one season being their worst," Breslow stated. "Now, the fact that mine came on the cusp of free agency, that's not how you draw it up. Still, I think there were a number of teams that appreciated the big picture and the body work and that there were a number of things that went into the disappointment of my 2014 season and that I was very much motivated to change that."
It says a lot about Breslow that he remains confident of his abilities, as he is a good pitcher that had a bad year and the Red Sox were able to take good advantage of that.
It might have hurt his bank account, but there is always 2015.
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More by Eric D. Schabell