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If the Sox are committed to Santiago as a starter, that could open a spot for left hander Leyson Septimo. The Sox also could receive a lift from 6 foot 5 left hander Santos Rodriguez, who is currently pitching for Salt River in Nike Air Vapormax All Colours
Thornton, 36, and Crain, 31, are in the final seasons of their contracts (although the Sox hold a $6 million option on Thornton for 2014). But there are indications that the young relievers are ready to take the next step in their maturation process.
They could trade one of their young pitchers for a major league ready player such as an upgrade over catcher Tyler Flowers or a third baseman with a bigger upside than Brent Morel.
Santiago seemed more comfortable in four starts in the final five weeks of the season after beginning 2012 as the Sox's closer.
Nate Jones capped an impressive rookie season by allowing one earned run over his final 23 appearances after hitting a speed bump in late July and early August. His 98 mph fastball automatically puts him into consideration for a late inning role. Jones, however, will have to work on lowering first batters' .328 batting average against him.
will earn $6.5 million in 2013, plus $1 million annually from 2014 20).
Rodriguez, 24, struck out 69 but walked 35 in 71 1/3 innings for Double A Birmingham and Charlotte. Rodriguez throws in the mid 90s mph range and allowed only 40 hits.
Axelrod, 27, could be helped by a change of scenery if the Sox at least pick up the $9.5 million option on Gavin Floyd and/or find a way to re sign Jake Peavy, as they don't seem worried about the possibility of fielding a rotation that could include four left handers Chris Sale, Jose Quintana, John Danks (recovering from shoulder surgery) and Santiago.
more strikes early in counts. Opponents batted .424 (14 for 33) when ahead in the count and .324 (22 for 68 with four home runs) after a 1 0 count.
Addison Reed set a Sox rookie record with 29 saves, and he converted 14 of his final 15 save chances.
A potential wild card is left hander Hector Santiago, who could return to Mens Nike Vapormax Grey the bullpen if he doesn't win a spot in the rotation.
After several years of injuries and control problems, Donnie Veal became one of the American League's most impressive left handers. He didn't allow a run in 16 of his final 17 appearances while limiting left handed batters to an .094 batting average (3 for 32). First batters went 2 for 23 (.087) against Veal.
Moving the salaries of Thornton ($5.5 million) or Crain ($4.5 million) would give the Sox the flexibility to add a free agent or allow them to absorb raises for first year arbitration eligible players Alejandro De Aza, and Gordon Beckham, along with decent pay increases for Dayan Viciedo and Chris Sale.
Omogrosso didn't allow a run in seven of his final eight appearances. Marinez pitched only once after getting promoted in mid September from Triple A Charlotte, where he posted a 2.86 ERA with 65 strikeouts in 63 innings.
Brian Omogrosso, 28, emerged as one of the most improved pitchers in the Sox's system, and he and Jhan Marinez (received as compensation for the departure of manager Ozzie Guillen to the Marlins) could compete for a middle relief role.
Andre Rienzo is capping off an impressive season with a strong debut in the AFL, but the Sox appear optimistic about their current choices in the rotation.
Bullpen could look different
But several scouts who followed the Sox during their unsuccessful drive for the American League Central title believe they could encounter two scenarios that could change the landscape of their bullpen:
But Thornton led the Sox with 74 appearances and gives them a veteran left hander. And, after an injury riddled start, Crain was one of the Sox's most dependable relievers down the stretch and limited right handed hitters to a .129 batting average.
Dylan Axelrod has been flexible and serviceable, as evidenced by his 7 1/3 innings of three hit ball at Baltimore on Aug. 29 and his seven innings of two run ball at Yankee Stadium on June 28. Two teammates believe Axelrod could be a 10 game winner in the National League.
the Arizona Fall League.
Contrary to an internet report, the Sox have committed $65.25 million to seven players for 2013 (Paul Konerko Nike Vapormax Tn
But television announcer Ken Harrelson wisely pointed out toward the end of the season that Reed needs to improve on throwing Nike Air Vapormax Flyknit Navy
Myers took some stress off the Sox's bullpen, but he is a free agent and could return to a starting role. The Sox appear to be interested in him for their rotation.
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