Thursday, December 29, 2011

Closer Makes Sox Closer

So, we were all waiting. We wondered what the Sox would do this off-season. Why were all the other teams making deals? Why were the other teams signing free agents? Were the Sox even trying? Well, yesterday they apparently made their biggest move of the off-season.

They acquired all-star closer Andrew Bailey from the A’s. Perfect. The best part about getting a closer? It makes the rest of the pen better. Suddenly your marginal closer becomes a very good set-up guy. Your barely there set-up guy moves into the bridge role. The whole bullpen takes a better shape just by adding the one guy. It’s very handy, and a great move.

As with any trade, it’s not exactly cut and dry. The Sox had to give up talent to get talent. In this case it meant saying goodbye to Josh Reddick. He was one of the players slotted to compete for right field in Fenway next season. He’s young, and has a bright future. But, thankfully, the Sox have young right fielders to spare. So, that made Reddick expendable. Will Kalish actually end up being the better player? Who knows? But, you have to make your best choice at the time. I’d say that’s exactly what the Red Sox did. They even managed to get another guy from the A’s who could help out in right. Not a bad idea.

Bailey has also had some arm trouble in the past. Which pitcher hasn’t? Is it cause for concern? You certainly have to wonder. Of course, the Sox former closer also had some arm trouble earlier in his career. And, again, it’s not like the Sox just signed Bailey to a 5-year $55 million deal or anything. They gave up an expendable youngster. Worst case? Bailey is awful and one of the a-ballers they gave up ends up being Jeff Bagwell. If that happens, you wipe the egg off your face and move on. If that doesn’t happen, it’s a great move by the Sox.

The other thing that happened with a Red Sox reliever is that Hideki Okajima signed a minor league contract with the Yankees. It was nice that I was able to view that transaction with indifference. Back in the day, Red Sox players would go to the Yankees so they could finally get their ring. Boggs and Clemens top that list. These days? The Sox players go to the Yankees with rings. I don’t have to cringe at the sight of any of them riding the back of a police horse. They got their ring here. They’re free to move on.

Thank goodness for 2004.

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