Craig Breslow

Red Sox decline option on Craig Breslow

October 31, 2014 - 10:28 am

The Red Sox announced that they've declined their $4 million option for the 2015 season on left-handed reliever Craig Breslow. The 34-year-old went 2-4 with a 5.96 ERA in 60 relief appearances this season, a marked departure from a six-year stretch that had established him as one of the most consistent left-handers in the game, with a 2.82 ERA while averaging 62 innings and 65 games a year. It was that track record that led the Sox to sign Breslow to the first multi-year deal of his career, a two-year, $6.25 million deal that included the 2015 option.

Breslow proved a pivotal part of the Sox bullpen in 2013, posting a 1.81 ERA in the regular season and then seven scoreless innings in the first two rounds of the postseason before he faltered in the World Series, retiring just one of the seven batters he faced in three appearances, at a time when he was running on fumes. That October run undoubtedly had a lingering toll in 2014, with Breslow frustrated by his inability to perform to his customary levels.

"I've never before had to play the last game of such a miserable season," Breslow said on the final day of the season. "There were a lot of firsts this year. I've never struggled like this at any point of my career. I've never had a full season that ended up like this, especially one that had significant expectations going on. The best part of this season is that it's done. ...

"I'm not looking for sympathy. I recognize that in my mind, and I think quite pragmatically, 2014 was the complement to 2013. I wouldn't undo any of that. I would gladly make that sacrifice. As much as this stinks, being able to contribute to a team that won a World Series is something that guys play for 20 years and never get a chance to do," he added. "I think it's kind of like I had the ultimate high of highs last year and the ultimate low of lows last year and in 2015 I'll go back to being the same guy I was for six of the last seven years."

Red Sox GM Ben Cherington, in a conference call on Thursday (before the option decision had been announced), echoed the notion that Breslow could be in line for a rebound next year.

"Bres is a really important guy for us and as you guys all know he'€™s a unique individual off the field, he means a lot and does a lot for baseball off the field and was a critical performer for us particularly in 2013. He has a lot of good qualities and we have a great relationship with him so we'€™ll see what happens," said Cherington. "No matter what happens, we value the relationship and we would bet on him having a bounce-back year next year. He'€™s certainly motivated to do that and capable of doing that."

The Red Sox also reinstated outfielder Shane Victorino from the 60-day disabled list. Their 40-man roster now stands at 38.