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The Lost Way of an Old Friend: Andrew Bailey


All three of the big trades Billy Beane executed during last offseason have been examined under the sharpest focus until our eyes roll back in our heads.  On the surface it looked like some parts of the trades were sounds, and others looked like Beane may have been had.  The latter referring of course to the trade that sent Andrew Bailey to the Boston Red Sox for Josh Reddick, Miles Head, and Raul Alcantara 1 year and 1 day ago on 12/26/11.  Initially it had appeared that Beane had sold off a 2 time All Star for a marginal outfielder and a couple of no-name prospects.

September 18, 2012; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Boston Red Sox relief pitcher Andrew Bailey (40) throws a pitch in the ninth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Boston Red Sox defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 7-5. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Anybody who paid any kind of attention to the Oakland Athletics though in 2012 knew that Josh Reddick emerged as a pretty legit outfielder, shortcomings notwithstanding, and Miles Head tore up pitching in the lower minors.  So just about everyone’s initial assesment of that trade turned out to be way off.  But there’s an entirely different side to this deal that doesn’t get much consideration around these parts, and that is the fall of Andrew Bailey since arriving in Boston.

We’ve all come to expect our favorite players to be wearing different colors sooner rather than later, it’s just a fact of life being an Athletics fan.  But even so seeing Bailey in Red Sox colors was weird.  And things did not go anywhere near what Bailey or the Red Sox had planned.

It all started when Bailey injured his thumb during Spring Training on a play covering first base.  It turned out he so severely injured his thumb that he would require surgery and miss a large portion of the 2012 season.  The problem was of course compounded by the fact that the outfielder they traded way had a big break out season and the Red Sox had issues at the back end of their bullpen all season long.

When Bailey did finally make his Red Sox debut, he didn’t fare well.  He only pitched 15.1 innings, but his 7.04 ERA was nothing short of ugly in that small sample size.  When you allow 12 ER in 15.1 innings there’s no sugar coating it, you’re getting shelled.

Folks in Boston are surely sick of Bailey’s lack of durability, which was something that made me not emotional when he was moved to Boston in the first place.  It appears though that the Red Sox brass doesn’t  trust him either, if acquiring Joel Hanrahan from the Pittsburgh Pirates is any indication.  Bailey now slots in as a setup man at best for the Sox, with Hanrahan taking over the closing duties.

It’s hard to see what was once such a promising young bullpen arm who got his big break in Oakland fall from grace so dramatically.  His durability will always be a question and that’s someting the Red Sox or any other team who could possibly acquire him will have to consider.  Bailey may have become a more high profile player by moving to Boston, but the Oakland Athletics undoubtedly came out on top in this deal.  I for one will take the unknown underdog over the high profile underachiever any day.