Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Andrew Bailey to the Sox

 According to's Extra Bases blog, the Red Sox have traded for Oakland A's closer Andrew Bailey and outfielder Ryan Sweeney.  Josh Reddick will be shipping out to Oakland, and  Class-A first baseman Miles Head and Class-A pitcher Raul Alcantara will be headed to A's minor league affiliate.

I know some of you grew pretty fond of Reddick last season, since he spent more than half the season with the big club, but his shoes are sure to be filled by someone capable.  While Rookie Reddick was serviceable, batting .280 with seven home runs and 28 RBIs in 87 games, he played just 56 of those games in right field.  According to the Globe's Pete Abraham, the Sox were downright deplorable in right field last season:
Red Sox right fielders hit .233/.299/.353 last season with 14 homers and 58 RBIs. Going by OPS, only Seattle was worse in the American League.
It's unlikely that Sweeney would end up being the full-time right fielder, as he's capable of playing all three outfield positions, and he seems to be more of a utility/fourth outfielder type, batting .265 with 25 RBIs and just one home run last season in 108 games.  We'll probably be seeing a lot of Ryan Kalish, who has hopefully fully recovered from all of his ailments.  Obviously, Kalish won't just be handed the job - there will be some competition in Spring Training.

But we all know that the gem of this deal is 27-year-old Andrew Bailey.  Since the departure of Jonathan Papelbon, Red Sox Nation has been understandably worried about who is going to be closing games, especially because former heir-apparent Daniel Bard has expressed interest in starting.  Bailey should be a serviceable replacement, as he has 75 saves in his three-year career, and though his ERA went up considerably last year (1.47 to 3.24), he had nearly four times as many strikeouts as walks.

It will be interesting to see how Bailey fares in the AL East, especially after spending his career in the somewhat cushier AL West (though I'm sure he's happy he doesn't have to face the Angels and Albert Pujols 18 times a season).  All in all, this is a solid move for new GM Ben Cherington - maybe it will even get Red Sox Nation off his back.

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