Originally posted on Ted's Army  |  Last updated 4/18/12

As many speculated this morning, the Red Sox decided to option Mark Melancon to Pawtucket to work on his game in a less pressure-filled environment. The expected-to-be-solid setup man has an ERA just south of 50.00, so it's probably a good idea to take a look at what's going on.

In his place comes Junichi Tazawa. Tazawa has been a promising pitcher for years now, but has fought injuries and a sharp learning curve. (I remember one of his first appearances being against A-Rod with the bases loaded in extra innings. It didn't end well.) His MLB numbers are troubling -- he has appeared in nine games and given up four homers, between 2009 and 2011. 

He's still young (25), and there's plenty of time for him to mature. If Bobby V is smart (the jury's still out) he'll ease Tazawa into his role in the bullpen, which is now in quite a state of flux. It was supposed to be Bailey-Melancon doing the closing and setup work, with Morales handling lefties, Aceves doing the long work, and the rest filling the middle. Now Aceves is closing, and the chief setup role isn't really filled by anyone -- it's divvied up among Morales, Justin Thomas, Matt Albers, and maybe Tazawa should he stick, with Scott Atchison handling the long work. The bullpen is a mess...but when is it not, really?

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