The Boston Red Sox and Koji Uehara have agreed to a two-year, $18 million contract extension, the team announced late Thursday afternoon.
Uehara, who turns 40 next April, is entering his seventh season in the Majors since coming over from Japan. Over the past two years, he has been pitching with the Red Sox. They signed him to a two-year, $9.25 million deal during the 2012-2013 offseason. With the Red Sox, Uehara was named the 2013 ALCS MVP and was chosen to pitch for the AL All-Star team this year.
The right-hander had a solid season in 2014, but struggled down the stretch, allowing ten runs in 15 2/3 innings pitched in August and September due to arm fatigue. That should be a bit concerning for the Red Sox, who are now paying him to a $9 million average annual value. Overall, however, Uehara posted really good numbers, going 6-5 with a 2.52 ERA in 64 1/3 innings pitched, saving 26 games.
Over his six year career, Uehara is 15-15 with a 2.44 ERA in 350 1/3 innings pitched. He started serving as closer last season with Boston, and has since finished 90 games, over half his career total. Uehara relies on an excellent splitter and a good mix of pitches to rack up the strikeouts. Although he doesn't throw hard, Uehara has a career 10.6 strikeouts-per-nine ratio.
Uehara is likely the first of many moves to come for the Red Sox this offseason, as they look to retool their team back to their winning ways in 2013. Boston came out very well at the trade deadline, and a good offseason (including a signing of a good starting pitcher), should make them at least a contender for the postseason in 2015. There is little doubt that they will finish with 90 losses again.