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November 23, 2013

Hanigan to Boston might be best option for multiple reasons

(Continued)

Badenhop trade

The Boston Red Sox acquired 30-year-old right-handed reliever Burke Badenhop from the Milwaukee Brewers for minor league lefty Luis Ortega on Friday.

Here are some interesting stats for Badenhop, who pitched for the Tampa Bay Rays in 2012:

Has posted a 2.59 ERA in 43 career appearances against AL East opponents.

Recorded a 3.47 ERA in 63 relief outings in 2013 and had a 2.05 ERA over his final 21 games.

Threw his fastball 67.7 percent of the time at an average of 89.1 mph this past season. Also threw 27.1 percent sliders at an 80.6 mph average and 5.2 percent changeups at an 83.3 mph average.

Held right-handed batters to a .229 batting average in ‘13 and just a .234 over the past two seasons.

Ranked seventh among qualified NL relievers in fewest walks per nine innings pitched (1.7) in 2013.

Has induced 16 double plays over the past two seasons, ranking him 10th among relievers.

The Red Sox bullpen dominated during the postseason, but GM Ben Cherington needed to add a reliable right-hander. He thinks he did just that in Badenhop.

Napoli’s value

Those who argue that free agent Mike Napoli is easy for the Red Sox to replace point to how the first baseman hit just 23 homers in 2013.

Sure, Boston would be able to find someone else who can hit 23 or more homers for a cheaper price. One option is Corey Hart, who didn’t play last year because of surgeries on both knees.

But look beyond the 23 home runs.

Napoli was sixth among all major league first baseman with 63 extra-base this past season. His. 360 on-base percentage ranked fifth among AL first baseman and his .842 OPS ranked sixth among AL first baseman.

Napoli also saw more pitches per plate appearance (4.59) than any other major league hitter in ‘13.

Those numbers are hard to replace.

Middlebrooks projection

Statistician Bill James is projecting Red Sox third baseman Will Middlebrooks will hit .266 with 32 homers, 104 RBIs, a .310 OBP, 490 slugging percentage and .800 OPS in 2014.

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