BOSTON -- The Red Sox declined their $4 million option on reliever Craig Breslow on Friday and paid him a $100,000 buyout, allowing the veteran lefty to become a free agent.
A key component during Boston's run to the 2013 World Series championship, Breslow struggled mightily in '14, posting a 5.96 ERA over 60 appearances. In 54 1/3 innings, Breslow allowed 73 hits and opponents hit him at a .319 clip.
The Red Sox could still re-sign the 34-year-old Breslow at a lower annual average value.
"He's a unique individual off the field, he means a lot and does a lot for baseball off the field, and [he] was a critical performer for us, particularly in 2013," Red Sox executive vice president and general manager Ben Cherington said on Thursday. "He has a lot of good qualities and we have a great relationship with him, so we'll see what happens. No matter what happens, we value the relationship and we would bet on him having a bounce-back year next year. He's certainly motivated to do that and capable of doing that."
Tommy Layne, who emerged late in the season, could become an important lefty for manager John Farrell in 2015. Drake Britton is another internal candidate who could make the team in that capacity. The Red Sox will be active in pursuing lefty relievers in free agency, including Andrew Miller, who they traded to the Orioles last July 31.
In another roster move, the Red Sox reinstated outfielder Shane Victorino, who is coming off back surgery, from the 60-day disabled list. Boston's 40-man roster currently stands at 38.
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.