Boston Lands Bailey

It appears that the Boston Red Sox have found their new closer.

More than a month after the Philadelphia Phillies signed former Boston closer Jonathan Papelbon, the Red Sox on Wednesday traded for Oakland stopper Andrew Bailey. The Sox also received Ryan Sweeney in the deal, in which Boston gave up outfielder outfielder Josh Reddick and a pair of minor league players.

While Boston obviously thinks Bailey fills a major void in the bullpen — he saved 75 games during the past three seasons — the former Athletic now finds himself in a much less forgiving ballpark.

So will this move work out in Boston’s favor?

As with any pitcher who leaves Oakland, the biggest question is whether Bailey can pitch effectively in a new home park. While Bailey’s ERA is lower on the road during his career, his peripherals tell a slightly different story.

Bailey definitely benefited from pitching in Oakland’s park. Nearly all of his peripherals are worse on the road. Bailey’s low road ERA can be explained by his luck with men on the bases. His strand rate also was drastically higher outside O.co Coliseum.

Despite those struggles, Bailey should be an effective pitcher in the American League East. His road K/9 and BB/9 are good enough to make him a useful addition to the Red Sox bullpen. The elevated home run rate could be a concern, though. Bailey is a flyball pitcher, and Fenway Park will be much less forgiving than the Coliseum.

While Bailey isn’t better than the guy he’s replacing, he comes at a fraction of the price. Bailey is arbitration eligible for the first time in his career — and should receive a hefty raise — but there’s no chance he’ll make anywhere near the $11 million-or-so that Papelbon will make with in Philadelphia next year. Considering the price for closers this off-season, Boston did pretty well in its trade with Oakland — only having to deal Josh Reddick (who some believe is a fourth outfielder) and two prospects.

While it doesn’t look like an overpay for Boston, it’s important to note that Bailey missed time the past two seasons. After throwing 83.1 innings in his rookie year, Bailey has only thrown 90.2 since 2010. His shoulder was a problem in 2010, and a forearm injury put him on the DL at the beginning of last season. While he showed no lingering effects from either injury, his history is concerning.

Reddick might have been the deal’s centerpiece for Oakland, but the Red Sox received a decent replacement in Ryan Sweeney. Sweeney never developed the appropriate power to go with his frame, but he’s a good fourth outfielder who plays solid defense. With his move from Oakland, Sweeney becomes a candidate to play right field in Boston. He displays a pretty extreme platoon split, though, so he should be paired with someone who can hit lefties more effectively. Sweeney might not have Reddick’s upside, but he won’t hurt the Sox in any area, either.

Boil this deal down and the Red Sox swapped fourth outfielders and landed a proven closer for two young prospects. That’s not a bad way for Ben Cherington to start his era in Boston.

We hoped you liked reading Boston Lands Bailey by Chris Cwik!

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Chris is a blogger for CBSSports.com. He has also contributed to Sports on Earth, the 2013 Hard Ball Times Baseball Annual, ESPN, FanGraphs and RotoGraphs. He tries to be funny on twitter @Chris_Cwik.

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Thomas
Guest
Thomas

Ben is fleecing people. just got 2 very good relievers and replaced the pieces he gave up for them.

Joe
Guest
Joe

Lowrie for Melancolm is fleecing?

This deal is a head scratcher for Beane, but let’s go easy on the deification of Ben.

Thomas
Guest
Thomas

yea, it is, look at Lowrie’s stats, look at Punto’s stats. Wash at best for Lowrie, then the Red Sox get Melancon, a very good reliever.

Joe
Guest
Joe

The value of Lowrie/Weiland vs value of Melancolm…. that is a fleece?

So I’m clear Houston getting Lowrie and Weiland for Melancolm is a terrible deal for them? (which is what getting fleeced means)

Last I checked Punto was a free agent signing and has nothing to do with Houston’s evaluation of a trade.

You are seemingly arguing that Ben made a good move replacing Lowrie, not that he fleeced Houston in a trade.

Ari Collins
Guest
Ari Collins

Agreed that he’s NOT fleecing the teams. What Ben is doing is trading his young players with upside who are currently second-stringers with actual second-stringers, and getting some bullpen pieces in return for losing that upside.

chuckb
Guest
chuckb

I agree.

The Astros did very well in the Lowrie for Melancon deal.

Towney007
Guest

Lowrie is a defensive liability and hasn’t had 300 PA’s since 2006. Those kinds of injury issues don’t correct themselves. He’ll go on a tear now and then – and those keep his offensive numbers respectable, but all things considered, he’s not physically durable enough to be an everyday player and he’s awful defensively making him unsuited to be a backup on a contending team. Of anything out of the Melancon deal, I’m astonished that *that many* people hold him in high regard.

Phils_Goodman
Member
Phils_Goodman

No he’s not. Don’t overrate Bailey. I think this is a fair deal from both ends.

leoleo
Member
Member
leoleo

Ben sure did “fleece” people. Melancon has pitched 2 innings for the Sox, while Bailey has pitched none. Meanwhile, Reddick put up a +144 wRC for Oakland and Lowrie a +143 for Houston.