With the free agent pitching market continuing to dwindle down as time passes, the Los Angeles Angels should consider adding relief pitcher Andrew Bailey.
The 29-year-old is coming off two injury filled seasons with the Boston Red Sox as he began the 2012 season on the disabled list due to reconstructive surgery on his right thumb. He would not return from until August of that year and finish with a career-high 7.04 ERA in only 15.1 innings pitched.
Last season, he assumed the role of being the team’s closer when Joel Hanrahan went down with an injury early in the season. He would make 30 appearances with a 3.77 ERA in 28.2 innings pitched that included converting eight out of 13 save opportunities before suffering a torn capsule and damaged labrum in his throwing shoulder that required season-ending surgery in July.
In December he was non-tendered by the Red Sox which made him a free agent. Although Bailey has had a difficult past couple of seasons in the majors, he showed what kind of pitcher he could be when healthy in his first three years with the Oakland Athletics.
As an Athletic, Bailey earned All-Star game selections in his first two seasons as he posted sub-2.00 ERAs in back-to-back years, below 1.00 WHIP and a combined 51 saves converted out of 58 opportunities. In 2009 season, he was named the American League Rookie of the Year as had a 6-3 record with a 1.84 ERA, 92 strikeouts, 0.88 WHIP and 26 saves in 83.0 innings pitched. He followed it up in next season as he posted a career-best 1.48 ERA with 25 saves in 49.o inning pitched.
In his third season, Bailey would take a step back as he had a 3.24 ERA in 41.2 innings pitched. Although it was not up his high standards, Bailey remained a solid arm out of the bullpen and the team’s closer as he converted 24 out of 26 save opportunities.
So despite missing significant amount of time over the last two seasons, the two-time All-Star would be a great addition to the Angels’ bullpen that is looking to rebound from last season where they ranked in the lower half of the league in many important pitching categories. Bailey would be a valuable assist to the pitching staff, in particular, with his experience as a closer as he has 89 career saves with 75 coming in his first three seasons with Oakland.
Another reason the Halos should look into signing Bailey is due to the fact that they will likely be able to sign him to an inexpensive contract due to his injuries in the last two seasons. It could be an underrated move if the former AL Rookie of the Year proves that his injury problems are behind him and returns to his dominant form that he displayed early on in his career.
So with pitching a main area of concern heading into next season, the addition of Bailey would be a step in the right direction to improving their pitching staff in 2014.