Andrew Bailey has been more injured than healthy in his time in a Boston Red Sox uniform. After he had surgery and missed the rest of the 2013 season, it appeared extremely likely that his tenure in Boston was going to be an injury-plagued, disappointing experience and one that would end after a few years.
However, there are now reports that Bailey is going to be offered a contract, rather than Boson non-tendering him and making him a free agent. At first glance, this move seems to be a surprise, but it actually makes a lot of sense in many ways.
Bailey is an All-Star closer and that provides a lot of value, enough so that another team might be interested in acquiring him. He could be a valuable trade chip, and he has shown that he has a fantastic arm when he is healthy. Also, the Red Sox are very much interested in having as much bullpen depth as possible, something which was lacking this year. It could be very much worth it to have a pitcher of Bailey’s caliber in the bullpen even if he can’t pitch until July or so.
Something else to consider is that Koji Uehara, the projected closer in 2014, is 39-years old and has a history of injuries. It couldn’t hurt at all to have another pitcher with closing experience readily available just in case something happens to Uehara. Before he got hurt, Bailey was great in a setup role.
Bailey could be an excellent weapon out of the bullpen. Now, hopefully we will get to see him for most of the season healthy.