The Boston Red Sox in 2012 acquired an All-Star closer to secure the back end of the bullpen. Needless to say, that trade hasn’t worked out well at all for Boston. When they traded Josh Reddick to the Oakland Athletics for Andrew Bailey they had the misfortune of watching Reddick blossom into an everyday right fielder and a power threat in the middle of the lineup. Meanwhile, Bailey has barely been able to stay on the field for the last two years.
Boston knew that Bailey has had a history of injury problems, but there is no way that they could have foreseen how brittle he appears to be. Just when it appeared that he could be a serious weapon in the bullpen he hurt his throwing shoulder and probably won’t return until the All-Star Break of the 2014 season. Somehow, someway Boston was able to recover from that loss thanks to Koji Uehara, but the question now is what does the future hold for Bailey in a Boston uniform?
Junichi Tazawa essentially took over the eighth inning role that was projected to be Bailey’s role and for the most part did very well. He opened quite a few eyes with his skills during his battles with Miguel Cabrera during the ALCS. Boston also recently acquired Burke Badenhop, who is a very solid middle reliever, and they are expecting Andrew Miller back, who was having a breakout season until he broke his foot.
They just can’t rely on Bailey. He has great stuff but just cannot stay healthy, and Boston can’t afford to count on him for any prominent role in the bullpen this year. They got extremely lucky that Uehara ended up working out as well as he did in the closer role. If Boston wants to sign him to some minor league, low-risk deal then that is fine, but anything more and Boston can be expected to get burned — again. That’s a shame because when healthy Bailey really is that good.