Posted on: December 28, 2011 5:34 pm
Edited on: January 27, 2012 12:59 am
The Red Sox filled their obvious need for a closer by acquiring Andrew Bailey from Oakland in a five-player trade, and at first blush this looks like a steal for Boston. At second and third blush, too.
Oakland's issue was a market filled with available viable closers both via trade and free agency. They acquired outfielder Josh Reddick, third-base prospect Miles Head and righthanded pitching prospect Raul Alcantara in the deal for Bailey and outfielder Ryan Sweeney.
Someone with the A's opined a few weeks ago that they may be able to get more for Bailey in July because teams may be more desperate for closers in a pennant race. But the A's decided to pull the trigger on a deal that won't overwhelm anyone, anyway. Reddick is a "young controllable'' outfielder, which are both important attributes. But he doesn't figure as a future star. Head and Alcantara, while promising, are too far away to know.
Meanwhile, Bailey is just what Boston needed. While 2011 wasn't his best season (0-4, 37 saves, 3.24 ERA), he has been a very effective closer in his three years in Oakland. He has a 0.95 lifetime WHIP and he was Roookie of the Year. As a bonus, he's out of tiny Wagner College in New York, and he seems like a tough Northeasterner who should fit a very tough role very well. A's manager Bob Melvin seemed to be a huge fan of Bailey's. Mark Melancon, acquired a couple weeks earlier by Boston, should fit better as a set-up man in Boston.
All in all, this was new Red Sox GM Ben Cherington's finest moment as GM (not counting being nudged to hire Bobby Valentine, as manager since Larry Lucchino gets half credit for that one).