According to ESPN’s Buster Olney, the Boston Red Sox have acquired reliever Andrew Bailey and outfielder Ryan Sweeney from the Oakland Athletics for outfielder Josh Reddick and prospects Mario Alcantara and Miles Head.
It’s assumed that Bailey will slip into the closer’s role in Boston, being set up by the recently acquired Mark Melancon and Bobby Jenks, as Daniel Bard moves into the rotation. Bailey has spent the first three seasons of his career in this role for Oakland, where’s he’s been above average out of the bullpen. Finding a measure of success despite his high fly ball rate suggests that he’s benefited somewhat from pitching in Oakland.
However, this past season, Bailey had the highest BABIP of his career and a below average strand rate, while still putting up better than average numbers in almost every category. Perhaps more concerning than his true talent level are his recent spate of right arm injuries. After Tommy John surgery back in 2005, Bailey had no problems until the end of the 2010 season, in which he required more surgery on his right elbow. He then missed the beginning of 2011 with a strained right forearm, which many believed to be related to more elbow problems.
The Red Sox also receive Mike Sweeney in the deal, who before the trade, was comically counted on for a lot by the Oakland A’s. At the moment, he likely slots into the starting right fielder role in Boston, unless Ryan Kalish can do something about it. However, it would hardly be surprising if the Red Sox made another move or two before the beginning of Spring Training.
For their part, the A’s get a slightly more promising outfielder in Reddick, who played well for Boston at times last season, but overall is something of a mystery considering his contradicting numbers between MLB and the Minor Leagues. At the very least, he should provide good defense in the roomy outfield of the Oakland Coliseum, for as long as the team plays there.
The Athletics also acquire two prospects in the deal that Baseball America ranked just outside of the top twenty in the Red Sox organization.
I don’t imagine Bailey being as spectacular in Boston as he appeared to be at times in Oakland, but giving up only Reddick off the Major League roster and receiving a capable piece of insurance in Sweeney, means that the Red Sox have anchored a young, cheap and controllable bullpen at little cost. No one is getting hosed in the deal, but unless the A’s see and get something in Reddick that most do not believe is there, the advantage has to go Boston.