Yesterday, the Boston Red Sox acquired closer Andrew Bailey along with outfielder Ryan Sweeney from the Oakland Athletics for outfielder Josh Reddick and minor league prospects Miles Head and Raul Alcantara.
Bailey succeeds Jonathan Papelbon as the Red Sox closer. Papelbon signed with the Philadelphia Phillies last November. In 2009, Bailey was named AL Rookie of the Year after recording 26 saves. He posted 25 and 24 saves in 2010 and 2011, respectively. However, Bailey spent time on the DL both this season and last. It makes me wonder if he can stay healthy in 2012. If he can’t then it will be left to Mark Melancon to close games. Melancon did save 20 games for the Houston Astros in 2011 but there’s a world of difference between saving a game at Minute Maid Park against the Pirates or the Cubs and quite another to save a game at Fenway against the Yankees or the Rays.
With Bailey and Melancon at the back end of the bullpen it is very likely that Daniel Bard will be moved into the starting rotation along with Alfredo Aceves. Bard struggled mightily in the bullpen down the stretch in 2011. But I don’t know if Bard will be anymore successful every five days than he was when he pitched three to four times a week.
I don’t think I would have given up Reddick for Sweeney either. I think Reddick could be a superstar while Sweeney isn’t really an everyday player. I think this trade is great for Reddick who will get to play everyday. Of course, if he does become a superstar he won’t be with Oakland for long.
The Athletics have been shedding what little payroll they have this offseason. Outfielders David DeJesus and Josh Willingham have signed free agent contracts with the Chicago Cubs and Minnesota Twins, respectively. Prior to trading Bailey, the Athletics also dealt their two top starting pitchers – Trevor Cahill and Gio Gonzalez – to the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Washington Nationals, respectively. It is believed that the Athletics want to move to San Jose in 2014 but the San Francisco Giants might have something to say about that. I wonder if Michael Lewis is planning to write Moneyball II.
But I am far more worried about the Red Sox. I just don’t see this working out. Last September’s collapse is only the tip of the iceberg. The hiring of Bobby Valentine to captain the ship will make this sinking go that much faster.
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