40 Man Roster Review: Craig Breslow

With Spring Training less than a month away, the Red Sox 40 Man Roster should be fairly set until the end of camp. I'll take this opportunity to review the entire roster. Lets face it, there's not much else going on.

The 2012 Red Sox fell so far, so fast it is difficult to remember that at the July 31 Trade Deadline that the Red Sox were still on the periphery of contention. GM Ben Cherrington was in a difficult spot.  He had a psuedo contender that had numerous weaknesses, little room in his payroll budget, and his only trade chips with real value were part of his long-term plan and too valuable to move to try and patch what was at best a fringe contender.

In acquiring Craig Breslow, Cherrington acquired a pitcher who would help the 2012 team and still be under team control in 2013.  All he parted with was a 38 year-old journeyman who spent all of 2011 in the minors (Scott Podsednik) and a middle reliever who had been shaky when trusted with a higher leverage role (Matt Albers). The club gave up nothing of real value while adding a lefty reliever with a career 141 ERA+.

Just like having a multi-inning reliever in Alfredo Aceves is a weapon not every club has, so is having a lefty reliever that can get hitters on both sides of the plate out.  It seems almost every club these days carries a lefty reliever, even if its a poor one that is carried at the expense of a better right handed pitcher.  Some managers even use lefties who are effective against right-handed batters or have reverse platoon splits as LOOGYs.  John Farrell should be shrewd enough not to pigeon-hole Breslow into a Javier Lopez/Tony Fossas role.

The last time the Red Sox won playoff games Hideki Okajima was a weapon late in games as a lefty who could pitch entire innings. As his effectiveness waned the club slapped out one southpaw after the next to find somebody who could fill his role. After Javier Lopez was traded to the Giants in 2010 club hasn't even had an effective LOOGY.

During the 2009-2011 seasons the following lefty relievers were brought in to fill the gap.
  • Randy Williams
  • Rich Hill
  • Tommy Hottovy
  • Trever Miller
  • Dennys Reyes
  • Scott Schoeneweis
  • Dustin Richardson
  • Hunter Jones
  • Billy Traber
With the acquisition of Breslow, and the emergence of Andrew Miller as a power arm out of the pen the likes the Red Sox haven't had from the left side since Alan Embree the Red Sox have two lefties who can pitch to hitters on both sides of the plate and pitch full innings.

Follow me on Twitter @JChalifour