Bailey Not A Slam Dunk For Boston

Clearly, the Red Sox set out to revamp their bullpen this off-season. With Daniel Bard likely headed for the rotation and Jonathan Papelbon now in Philadelphia, they had their work cut out for them. But, they are taking somewhat of a gamble finishing their games with young pitchers with limited experience pitching in harsh environments, like Mark Melancon and newly acquired closer, Andrew Bailey.

First, this trade has to be evaluated from a Red Sox perspective. Obviously, their talent evaluators believe Bailey can step in and be a top tier type closer right away. With that being said, they have to be pleased with his relatively low price tag. They viewed a player like Josh Reddick as expendable and none of the prospects they surrendered are among their elite.

There has to be some doubt, however, as to just how well Bailey will adapt to the bright lights of Fenway Park. He's not a Jonathan Papelbon type personality and he's spent his entire career pitching in essentially meaningless baseball games. There's no doubting his pure ability, but it isn't always just about ability when it comes to pitching in the AL East. Also, something worth keeping an eye on is Bailey's velocity. He dipped nearly a full MPH on his average fastball in 2011 and did have some injury trouble.

As for the prospects Oakland acquired, this is not a loaded package like the one they received for Gio Gonzalez. Josh Reddick gives them immediate help at the big league level, but the prospects are likely many years away. 19-year old righty, Raul Alcantara is very crude at this stage but does have a fastball that reaches 96 mph. Miles Head is a righty swinging infielder with a solid hit tool, but his upside is highly dependent on that tool.

This deal adds some depth to the lower levels for Oakland, but Boston's end of the deal obviously creates the headline. But, once again, this is not necessarily the slam dunk win for the Sox that it appears to be at first glance. Andrew Bailey does come with some risk.

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