I don’t think Andrew Bailey got the memo, the one from the Boston Red Sox explaining to him that he needs to pitch better in order to have higher trade value.
Since the Red Sox acquired Bailey from the Oakland A’s during the winter of 2011, it seems like he has never been able to be the closer he was with Oakland. He suffered an injury to his right thumb before last season that required surgery at the start of the season.
The thumb injury seemed to impact Bailey all of last season, even when he returned to the Red Sox in mid-August, causing him to pitch to a 7.04 ERA out of the Boston bullpen.
The 28-year-old Bailey was successful during his time with the A’s, but compared to his three seasons by the Bay Area, his stuff looked flat while finishing out the season as the Red Sox’ closer.
His performance was enough of a concern that the Red Sox made the decision to bring in Pittsburgh Pirates closer Joel Hanrahan this offseason, making Bailey a $4.1 million set-up man this year.
The best thing to happen for both sides would be for Bailey to start pitching well and to resemble the pitcher he was in Oakland. If he can start to regain his form, there are multiple teams that might be in need of a good closer–with the Detroit Tigers being front and center.
The Red Sox could also look at their bullpen and view it as the deepest in baseball, giving them the luxury of playing a lot of high-scoring games and shortening the work of the starters to five or six innings on a regular basis.
Whatever the Red Sox intended to do with Bailey, it won’t matter much if he doesn’t start to pitch better. It’s early, but he has a 9.00 ERA to start the spring and again, his stuff doesn’t seem very sharp.
If the reports in April about Bailey are saying the same things, it could end up being a long season for him working out of the Red Sox’ bullpen.
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