Dan Wheeler Signs with Red Sox

With the market for relief pitchers going in a direction I don't think anyone could have anticipated it didn't seem likely that the Rays would be able to retain Dan Wheeler. He was not one of the free agents that was offered arbitration because he would have likely gladly accepted the $4 million contract, and that's a price the Rays couldn't afford to pay this season. Instead, the Red Sox signed him to a one year deal for $3 million, plus a vesting option for 2012 for $3 million to $3.25 million if he appears in 65 games.

Wheeler joins Bobby Jenks in a retooling of the Boston bullpen, something they needed to address this off season. Over the past three seasons Wheeler has xFIP's of 4.24,  3.40, and 3.63 against right handed batters while holding them to averages of .172, .156, and .225. If used properly, which means only against right handed batters, Wheeler is a fantastic weapon. Yes, he allows home runs at a rate higher than you'd like, but he generates enough strikeouts to make up for it.

When the Rays traded for Wheeler in 2007 it was a sign that the team was heading in the right direction. He's gotten his share of hate from Rays fans - most of it unwarranted. Good luck in Boston, Dan, just not when you face the Rays.

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