2015 Outlook: The 2014 season was a tale of two halves for Uehara. After the right-hander posted a 1.65 ERA and .174 BAA in 43⅔ innings prior to the All-Star break, fatigue set in and he finished with a 4.35 ERA and .282 BAA in the second half, with all 10 of his earned runs allowed coming in a span of four innings (six appearances). His struggles forced manager John Farrell to make a change at closer -- Edward Mujica finished the year as the Red Sox's ninth-inning man -- but Boston re-signed Uehara to two-year, $18 million deal in the offseason, meaning the soon-to-be 40-year-old will return to the ninth-inning role to open 2015. It seems likely the team will take measures to limit Uehara's workload early on this season, potentially affording Mujica some save opportunities, but Uehara is still able to miss bats at a great clip (32.1 percent strikeout rate last season) and should have no trouble holding onto the job so long as his historically troublesome shoulder holds up.
2015 Outlook: Despite a significant drop in strand rate (82.4 percent in 2013 to 76.5 percent in 2014), Tazawa managed to lower his ERA to 2.86 and his WHIP to 1.19 on the season (from 3.16 ERA, 1.20 WHIP). Some of the 28-year-old reliever's advanced stats (2.94 FIP, 3.17 xFIP and .289 BABIP) suggest his season wasn't as good as the surface numbers indicate, but he still turned in a sound season nonetheless. Heading into 2015, there's reason for optimism with Tazawa, with both Koji Uehara and Edward Mujica stumbling in the closer role in 2014. However, both appear to be ahead of him in the pecking order, meaning he will likely require hiccups by the two in 2015 for an opening to present itself. Tazawa does stand an outside chance to get save opportunities in 2015, and he should have a spot near the back end of the bullpen at a minimum.