Bailey fills big hole, creates options for Red Sox

624548.jpg

Bailey fills big hole, creates options for Red Sox

BOSTON -- The Red Sox plugged one of their major offseason holes Wednesday afternoon, acquiring Andrew Bailey in a trade with the Oakland As, with outfielder Ryan Sweeney, in exchange for outfielder Josh Reddick and two minor leaguers, first baseman Miles Head and right-hander Raul Alcantara.

Bailey, who will turn 28 in May, will take the place of closer Jonathan Papelbon. He finished 2011 with 24 saves, 11th in the American League, in 26 chances. He threw 41 23 innings in 42 appearances, with a 1.20 WHIP and 3.24 ERA. In 2009, he was named American League Rookie of the Year, with a record of 6-3, 1.84 ERA, 26 saves, a 9.8 K9 ratio, and 0.876 WHIP.

He's under club control for three more years, and eligible for arbitration now for the first time.

As one major league scout said, Its risky but a good acquisition by the Sox if Bailey stays healthy.

That has been an issue in the last few years. His saves totals have gone down in each of the last three seasons -- 26, 25, and 24 saves, respectively -- as have his appearances and innings pitched -- 68, 47, and 42 appearances, with 83 13, 49, and 41 23 innings each.

Bailey, who underwent Tommy John surgery in 2006, did not begin his2011 season until May 29, starting the season on the disabled list because of a forearm strain. He also was hit in the left temple by a line drive off the bat of teammate Kurt Suzuki during batting practicein September.

Sox general manager Ben Cherington is confident Bailey is healthy.

We had a chance to look into Baileys medical history and get to know a lot about what hes gone through, Cherington said. He had Tommy John surgery I guess five years ago now and hes fully recovered from that. He had some elbow symptoms in 2010 and had a minor procedure, relatively minor procedure after the 2010 season. He then came to spring training in 2011 and perhaps ramped up too quickly and had a little bit of a setback and appeared to be some scar tissue breakup and some minor soft tissue injury.

"This past spring training he was able to recover from that, get back to pitching and perform well. His stuff and his performance were solid down the stretch and he was asymptomaticfor the rest of the season after he came back. We are very confident hell come into camp ready to go and ready to help our team in 2012.

The acquisition of Bailey allows the Sox to continue with their plan to bring Daniel Bard and Alfredo Aceves into camp as starters. Whether they remain in the rotation will be determined by their performances and how well they adapt to the change in spring training.

The acquisition also allows them to set up their bullpen. Mark Melancon, acquired in a trade with the Astros earlier this month, moves into a middle relief or setup role, a role more suited to his abilities than that of closer in the A.L. East. Bobby Jenks will also be in the mix for the set-up role, but he is coming off a pulmonary aneurysm and a procedure on his back earlier this month.

Sandoval 'starting from scratch' after career had 'fallen into an abyss'

Sandoval 'starting from scratch' after career had 'fallen into an abyss'

The Pablo Sandoval redemption tour is underway as the former World Series MVP tries to revive his career after two disastrous seasons with the Red Sox organization.

In an interview with ESPN Deportes, he admits to being “complacent” during his first two seasons in Boston after signing a five-year, $95 million deal. 

"My career had fallen into an abyss because I was so complacent with things that I had already accomplished," Sandoval said. "I did not work hard in order to achieve more and to remain at the level of the player that I am and that I can be."

After dealing Travis Shaw to the Brewers, Sandoval is expected to be the Red Sox primary third baseman in 2017.

"I am not taking anything for granted," he said. "I am here to work hard. I'm not thinking about the position or not. I am starting from scratch, and I am here to show what I can do on the field."

The 30-year-old says he’s following a “really strict routine” this offseason, and it shows. In a recent photo, Sandoval appears noticeably thinner. Sandoval says his wife giving birth to “Baby Panda” has served as inspiration.

"Watching 'Baby Panda' grow up and that he gets the opportunity to see his father play in the majors for seven, eight more years, to get back to the success I had, that's my motivation every day," Sandoval said. "The people that I surround myself with now and my family, they are the key to my success. This has been a life lesson."

Tanguay: Could Red Sox ownership be going for it now, then sell the team?

Tanguay: Could Red Sox ownership be going for it now, then sell the team?

Could John Henry sell ownership of the Boston Red Sox anytime soon, or does he want to keep winning?  Shaughnessy, Merloni, and Tanguay debate.