Tag: Andrew Bailey

Andrew Bailey Re-Signs with Angels: Latest Contract Details, Comments, Reaction

Andrew Bailey was an All-Star closer early in his career, and the Los Angeles Angels hope he can become a bullpen force once again after re-signing him to a new contract.  

The Angels announced they signed Bailey to a one-year contract on Wednesday, and Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reported the deal is worth $1 million with incentives.

Bailey has played for the Oakland Athletics, Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, Angels and Philadelphia Phillies in his career. He was a dominant force in his first two seasons with Oakland and made the 2009 and 2010 All-Star Games.

He won the 2009 American League Rookie of the Year behind a 1.84 ERA, 0.88 WHIP and 91 strikeouts in 83.1 innings. He also notched 26 saves in the process. He followed that up with a 1.47 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, 42 strikeouts and 25 saves in 49 innings in 2010.

However, injuries sapped him of much of his effectiveness after those initial two years.

Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe chronicled his physical ailments before the 2012 season and said Bailey underwent thumb surgery in 2012, suffered a forearm injury in 2011, had elbow surgery in 2010 and had knee surgery after the 2009 season.

What’s more, he underwent season-ending surgery to repair a torn labrum in 2013 and didn’t make a single appearance in 2014 as a result. He pitched in just 8.2 innings in 2015. 

Bailey’s numbers were still solid in 2011, but he was plagued by inconsistency and a couple of lackluster seasons after that:

The silver lining for Bailey is his performance with the Angels last year. His overall numbers left much to be desired because of a 6.40 ERA in 33 appearances for the Phillies, but he sported a 2.38 ERA, 0.97 WHIP and six saves in 11.1 innings down the stretch for Los Angeles.

While they weren’t pressure-packed appearances for a team well out of playoff contention, the positive results were a welcome sign for the 32-year-old veteran.

The hope for Los Angeles is that foreshadowed a return to prominence for the two-time All-Star and wasn’t just a small-sample blip. The injury concerns are still quite real, but the chance Bailey finds his form again makes this a high-upside deal.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Boston Red Sox Name Setup Man Junichi Tazawa Their New Closer

In the face of mounting injuries in their bullpen, the Boston Red Sox named setup man Junichi Tazawa as their new closer Tuesday.

The decision was announced by Boston manager John Farrell during an appearance on MLB Network Radio, according to MLB.com’s Jason Mastrodonato.

MLB Network Radio analyst Jim Duquette confirmed Tazawa’s new role via Twitter:

The switch to Tazawa, who had served as a setup man so far this season, was necessitated by the team losing two closers to the disabled list during the past two days.

Andrew Bailey, who leads Boston with five saves, was placed on the disabled list Monday with sore biceps.

Joel Hanrahan, who is second on the team with four saves, prematurely left Monday’s game against the Minnesota Twins because of arm discomfort. He was subsequently placed on the disabled list Tuesday with a right forearm strain.

A staff report by ESPN Boston quoted Farrell on his radio appearance talking about his closer plans while his two incumbents are on the mend:

I think what we’d love to do is close Tazawa. We’d keep Koji [Uehara] in that eighth-inning role that he’s been in. We just got [Craig] Breslow back to us yesterday and before the game we put Bailey on the disabled list who had done a great job in the closing role as well…

Tazawa has a little bit more fastball which, whether I’m siding to the traditional approach with a little bit more power late in the game, that’s there. So, right now that’s the initial approach that we’d take to closing things out.

The 26-year-old right-handed Tazawa is 2-1 with a 2.51 ERA in 16 relief appearances this season. He has struck out 18 batters and walked just three in 14.1 innings, without a save.

A starter earlier in his career, he converted to a reliever role following Tommy John surgery in 2010. He has one major league save in two career chances.

To complete the reshuffling of the pitching staff, the Red Sox also announced that left-hander Felix Doubront was being moved to the bullpen, and prospect Allen Webster was recalled to start Wednesday’s game:

It’s unknown how long Tazawa will remain the closer.

ESPN Boston’s Gordon Edes reported that Bailey’s MRI showed only inflammation, which could make for a quick recovery. The right-hander is eligible to return as soon as May 14 if his arm bounces back as hoped.

A WEEI.com staff report indicated Hanrahan has inflammation and a strain in his forearm. He will need rest before being re-evaluated. Although it’s not believed he has structural damage, it’s unknown when he may be able to return.

This will be the veteran right-hander’s second trip to the disabled list already this season as he was just activated on April 30 following a stint caused by a hamstring strain.

Boston’s bullpen is experiencing a major overhaul, but sliding Tazawa so quickly into the closer role is evidence of the unit’s depth.

If the injured pitchers can bounce back quickly, this will likely be a temporary move for Tazawa. In the meantime, he has been thrust into the spotlight and given a chance to show he can handle the new responsibilities.


Statistics via Baseball-Reference 

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Mike Trout May Be the MVP, but He Shouldn’t Be Rookie of the Year

After watching him help the Angels sweep the Red Sox earlier this week, and based on his entire body of work this season, it’s clear that Mike Trout is one of the most exciting young players in the majors. He may even be the American League MVP when all is said and done, but there is one thing I don’t think the 21-year-old phenom should be:

Rookie of the Year.

Technically, Trout is a rookie. As the MLB rules state, A player shall be considered a rookie unless, during a previous season or seasons, he has (a) exceeded 130 at-bats or 50 innings pitched in the Major Leagues; or (b) accumulated more than 45 days on the active roster of a Major League club or clubs during the period of 25-player limit (excluding time in the military service and time on the disabled list).

Trout makes the cut…barely. He played in 40 games (32 starts) during 2011, in which he had 123 at-bats. This may qualify someone for rookie status the next year, but it seems like an awful big sample set for me.

Forty games is nearly a quarter of the MLB schedule, and in Trout’s case, these were not just meaningless down-the-stretch contests. His first appearance came on July 8 against Seattle, and he wound up playing 14 games in July, eight in August, and 19 in September as the Angels battled for both an AL West title and a Wild Card spot. They got neither, but Trout (who hit .220 with five home runs and 16 RBI) got plenty of experience.

This year, of course, has been a different story. Trout has been with the Angels since late April and has torn up the league with an AL-best .336 average, 41 stolen bases, and 103 runs scored (along with 25 home runs) entering last night. Much hoopla was made when he became the first rookie to have both 25 homers and 40 steals during the Red Sox series, but he just doesn’t feel like a first-year guy to me.

He was an everyday player for Los Angeles during a good stretch of LAST season, and while he may seem like an entirely different performer this year, Trout is in fact the same guy who had already seen plenty of big-league pitching entering 2012.

To me, a true Rookie of the Year (ROY) winner is a guy who debuts the year he captures the award, or at most plays in 10 or 15 September games the previous season.

Baseball is the only one of the four major professional sports that has this type of shady rookie status. Football players, of course, go straight from college onto NFL rosters and have zero pro experience entering their first year. Ditto for hockey players, who enter the NHL from college or the minor league ranks. And while basketball players may have overseas professional experience, the first NBA games for every Rookie of the Year are played during his initial season in the league.

My 11-year-old son Jason had a very perceptive comment when I mentioned this discrepancy to him. “If Mike Trout is able to do this, what will keep managers from making sure young players don’t break the 130 at-bat limit so they can get better and older?”

I found no proof of this with Trout, who Angels manager Mike Scioscia played all game, every game down the stretch of 2011. It would have been interesting to see what might have happened had Trout gotten six more at-bats, of course.

Jason also had another funny premise: if a guy came up from the minors for 10 games a year for three years, would he still be considered a rookie going into his fourth season? According to the MLB rules above, he would. This seemed too funny to be plausible, but it happened…the 2008 NL ROY, Cubs catcher Geovany Soto, had played with Chicago for one game in 2005, 11 games in 2006, and 18 games in 2007. A fourth-year rookie!

I first started thinking about Trout’s freshman/sophomore status when Will Middlebrooks was shining for the Red Sox earlier this summer. A broken wrist derailed Middlebrooks in mid-August, and even if he had played out the string the chances are slim he would have put together stats like Trout.

But since Middlebrooks was a TRUE rookie whose 75 major games, 15 homers, and 54 RBI all came this season, one could argue (outside Los Angeles) that he is a more worthy Rookie of the Year winner than the guy who will get the award.

For some additional perspective, I looked back at AL and NL ROY winners from the past 10 seasons to see how they compare with Trout in pre-ROY experience. Soto was the only one I found with three MLB seasons under his belt, but one other player (Angel Berroa in 2003) had played shortstop for the Royals for a combined 35 games and 128 at-bats in 2001-2002. Talk about cutting it close to the 130 at-bat limit!

Most of the others fell into the more reasonable range of 15-20 pre-ROY games and 50-75 at-bats for position players and 5-15 games for pitchers. Six of the 20 awardees were “true” Rookies of the Year who saw their first MLB experience in their winning year: Chris Coughlin, Andrew Bailey, Evan Longoria, Ryan Braun, Dontrelle Willis and Eric Hinske. Honorable mentions go to 2006 winners Hanley Ramirez and Justin Verlander, who both played in just two MLB contests the previous season.

I think the system needs some revamping. Lower the pre-ROY maximum numbers to 20 games and/or 50 at-bats for position players, and 10 games and/or 30 innings for pitchers. This will ensure that September call-ups can still be considered rookies, but guys who played three months like Trout last year will be out of luck.

And what if Trout pulls off the double-win and captures both the Rookie of the Year and the MVP awards? He would be just the third man to achieve this feat, after Fred Lynn (in 1975) and Ichiro Suzuki (2001): two men who offer another contrast in rookies.

Lynn played in a reasonable 15 games in September of ’74, and while Suzuki was a “true” rookie in ’01 with regards to his MLB status, he did have nine seasons and more than 1,000 games in the Japanese professional leagues under his belt.

Now that’s another discussion altogether.  


Saul Wisnia lives less than seven miles from Fenway Park and works 300 yards from Yawkey Way. His latest book, Fenway Park: The Centennial, is available at http://amzn.to/qWjQRS, and his Fenway Reflections can be found athttp://saulwisnia.blogspot.com. He can be reached at saulwizz@gmail.com and @saulwizz. 

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Rollie Fingers and the Top 6 Closers in Oakland Athletics History

This weekend, the Oakland Athletics will celebrate the 40th anniversary of the organization’s 1972 World Series championship, as part of their three-game series hosting the Cleveland Indians. The highlight of the weekend will be the fan giveaway for Saturday’s matinee—a Rollie Fingers bobblehead doll, featuring his awesome signature handlebar moustache.

Renowned for his famous facial hair, Fingers also happened to have a Hall-of-Fame career as one of the first premier relievers in baseball history and clearly the most successful in the redefined role of the modern closer. His excellence on the field not only revolutionized the role of the closer in modern baseball, but it also paved the way for a long line of great closers in Oakland Athletics team history.

In honor of Fingers’ illustrious career and all the wonderful closers over the past 40 years of A’s baseball, let’s take a look at eight of the greatest closers in Oakland team history.

Begin Slideshow

With Andrew Bailey Injured, Mark Melancon Should Be Boston’s Closer

It is the most distressing news out of Boston Red Sox camp this spring. Andrew Bailey, brought in from Oakland to succeed Jonathan Papelbon as the team’s closer, may have to undergo thumb surgery that will keep him sidelined for months.

To lose the 2009 American League Rookie of the Year and two-time All-Star before the season even begins is definitely a setback for the Red Sox. But it is not a death knell.

The problems caused by Bailey’s potential surgery can be offset by simply moving Mark Melancon to the closer’s role until Bailey returns. No need to bring Daniel Bard back to the bullpen. No need to pine for Papelbon (too much anyway).

Mark Melancon is the best option for the Red Sox at closer. Here’s why.

Begin Slideshow

Oakland Athletics 2012 Team Calendar: A Symbol of Frustration

Do not buy the Oakland Athletics 2012 team calendar for anything other than humorous reasons. 

As an avid fan, let me explain why. 

Recently, I was at a Barnes and Noble doing some last-minute holiday shopping, along with what seemed like everyone else in the Bay Area. The store was packed and the shelves barren. I found myself wandering into the calendar section, the only place that didn’t look destroyed by Hurricane Procrastination. 

Scanning the available stock, I was sorely disappointed with myself—socks and calendars rival each other as the most thoughtless gift to give someone. 

But on Christmas Eve, anything becomes a possibility. 

Top shelf, at eye level, a green and gold one caught my attention. It was the A’s team calendar for 2012, with four players gracing the cover: starting pitchers Brett Anderson and Trevor Cahill, closer Andrew Bailey and catcher Kurt Suzuki. 

At the time, half of those players had already been traded away. Before the year even started!

Needless to say, I got a good chuckle. It was an LLOL moment, I literally laughed out loud at the item that stood before me. That was followed by the dejected realization that the club had once again parted ways with more proven players in exchange for unproven prospects. A pattern us fans have sadly grown accustomed to. 

The calendar not only represents 2012, but the past decade of frustration as we’ve watched several quality players develop in an A’s uniform only to be traded or allowed to walk away as they enter their prime. 

The growing list includes Jason Giambi, Miguel Tejada, Tim Hudson, Dan Haren, Carlos Gonzales and plenty more. The trend has continued this offseason with the dealing of the organization’s three most recent All-Stars (Gio Gonzales, Bailey and Cahill) and outfielder Josh Willingham, the only power-hitter in an otherwise impotent lineup.

It’s a merry-go-round that seems to have no end. 

So, once again, purchase the calendar at your own risk. The remaining two on the cover may be traded while you stand in line at the local bookstore. 

Then again, you didn’t need me to tell you that, as fans have adopted the frugal philosophy of Billy Beane’s front office. 

Good thing the calendar is probably at a heavily discounted price by now—at least half off. 

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Andrew Bailey’s Arrival with the Boston Red Sox Is a Relief

Andrew Bailey is now with the Boston Red Sox and I couldn’t be happier.

Slowly, but surely, Ben Cherington is starting to win me over.  The circumstances weren’t exactly on his side when be became general manager.  His hands have been tied by ownership, and he’s had to clean up the hideous mess Theo Epstein left. 

Despite all of this, he’s still managed to pull off some nice moves.  Initially, it made my blood boil to hear the Red Sox say they weren’t planning to spend money, but I guess it’s inevitable after Epstein wasted about $321.4 million of John Henry’s money on horrible free agents. 

On principle, you hate to see Cherington suffer for Epstein’s mistakes, but it is what it is.  Now, if you’re wondering how I came to $321.4 million, here is my breakdown:

1. $15.5 million on Mike Cameron

2. $25.8 million on Matt Clement

3. $36 million on Julio Lugo

4. $36 million on Edgar Renteria

5. $82.5 million on John Lackey

6. $12 million on Bobby Jenks

7. $103.1 million on Daisuke Matsuzaka ($52 million in salary and the $51.1 million posting fee)

8. $5.5 million on John Smoltz

9. $5 million on Brad Penny

The trade for Andrew Bailey is a good move because he’s still young.  His resume is thin, but stellar; Rookie of the Year in 2009 and a two-time All-Star.  He’s now 27, which is the age range when a ballplayer starts to hit his peak. 

The thought of going into the season with some reclamation project or Bobby Jenks was horrific. Bailey doesn’t give up a lot of home runs, strikes about a ton of guys and throws strikes, which is basically everything a team wants in a closer. 

Perhaps the best aspect about this deal is that the Red Sox now have a guy who has proven he can attack American League lineups.  Mark Melancon put up some good numbers in the NL, but he doesn’t inspire confidence like Bailey does.

Bailey’s prior injury history doesn’t scare me off.  Jonathan Papelbon had shoulder problems early in his career, but the team was able to keep him healthy during his time in Boston.  I guess my point is that if the Sox kept Papelbon healthy, I trust they’ll be able to keep Bailey healthy as well. 

Ben Cherington’s strategy on reloading the pitching staff looks like a sound plan.  As much as I respect Tim Wakefield for what he’s done in Boston, 2011 looked like the end of the road for him.

Goodbye, Tim. 

Thanks for everything and good luck where ever you end up. John Lackey is out of commission. Dice K is a question mark as well. 

What do you do?  Reload with Melancon, who should give you a reliable set-up guy and push the Bard/Aceves combination to the starting rotation. 

Daniel Bard is a fine middle reliever with the talent to be a starter.  He’s got an overpowering fastball that tops out in the upper 90’s with a tough slider and changeup that throws hitter out of whack.  I don’t see why he can’t be at least a No. 5 starter in 2012.  I don’t trust Melancon to close out games in the AL East. 

In the aftermath of the “chicken and beer” collapse of 2011, it’s natural to want to panic and blow up the entire roster.  Starting all over again wouldn’t be prudent.  Cherington played it right.  Don’t panic and plug every hole that was glaring last year.  At the very least Red Sox fans won’t have to worry. 

The Red Sox will have a top-notch guy to nail down wins in 2012. 

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Andrew Bailey Is an Upgrade over Jonathan Papelbon for the Boston Red Sox

On Wednesday, the Boston Red Sox rookie GM Ben Cherington pulled off a trade with the Oakland Athletics for All-Star closer Andrew Bailey, according to ESPN.  As part of the deal, the Red Sox traded OF Josh Reddick along with two other prospects to Oakland in exchange for Bailey and OF Ryan Sweeney.

The trade—the first signature move for recent hire Cherington—was done in order to replace former Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon, who signed with the Phillies earlier in the offseason (via ESPN).

The acquisition of Bailey is yet another stellar move by a Red Sox front office—though it has changed in personnel recently—is constantly willing to make high-profile moves that can really improve the club.

The loss of Papelbon to the Philadelphia Phillies seemed to be an enormous loss for an already shaky Boston bullpen, but Bailey looks to be an upgrade at the position of closer over Papelbon.

Here’s why:

First, Bailey is a much cheaper option than Papelbon. This upcoming season, Bailey—still on his rookie contract—will make a mere $465,000 while Papelbon, after signing his recent four-year, $50 million contract with the Phillies, will be making $12 million for the 2012 MLB season.

That’s a nearly $11.5 million savings for the Red Sox, in addition to getting the better back-end of the bullpen pitcher.

Second, Bailey is four years younger than Papelbon. I know that may not seem like much, but it represents four less years of arm wear-and-tear that Bailey has suffered so far in his MLB career.

The arms of pitchers—especially hard-throwers like Bailey and Papelbon—are very fragile and the less strain the arm of a pitcher has undergone, the more effective and less injury-prone that pitcher can be.

With Bailey, the Red Sox are getting the younger and more likely healthier closer.

Third, and most importantly, Bailey is simply a better pitcher than Jonathan Papelbon. Throughout his career, Bailey has posted phenomenal numbers—such as a sub-2.00 WHIP (0.95) and a near-2.00 ERA (2.07).

Papelbon’s numbers over his career in those same categories are significantly worse than Bailey’s. Papelbon’s WHIP of 1.02 is .07 points worse than Bailey’s, while his ERA (2.33) is .26 points lower than Bailey’s.

All in all, Jonathan Papelbon was one of the cornerstones of the Red Sox club during his time in Boston, but the Sox actually benefited by losing him to the Phillies and acquiring Andrew Bailey from the A’s as his replacement.

With this trade, GM Ben Cherington showed that he, like his predecessor Theo Epstein, can make blockbuster moves that will end with greatly improving the Red Sox team and give them the pieces necessary to win the AL East.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

MLB Trade Rumors: Red Sox Must Continue Quest for Andrew Bailey

If the Red Sox are going to get back to the playoffs and seriously compete for a World Series, they need to bring in a closer. Right now, there’s no better one on the trade market than Andrew Bailey

Yesterday, Jim Bowden of ESPN tweeted that the A’s and Red Sox were close on a deal that would send Bailey to Boston. 

Obviously, the Gio Gonzalez trade has already happened, so there’s some foundation to that thought. The Red Sox now need to pull the trigger on a deal for Bailey and bring him across the country. 

The combination of injuries and playing in Oakland has significantly hurt Bailey’s save numbers over the years. Still, in three seasons, he’s locked down 75 games. That’s an average of 25 saves a season, that can easily go up by 10 to 15 playing on a team that’s in position to win more, like the Red Sox. 

But it’s the other numbers that tell you all you need to know. A career ERA of 2.07 and WHIP of 0.95 is nothing short of incredible. 

Remember, this is a bullpen that completely collapsed at the end of last season. One more game, and they’re in a one game playoff. Two more and they’re in the playoffs. 

And unlike the A’s, the Red Sox can afford to unload prospects. The A’s don’t have a bankroll to go out and bring in big name free agents. Every year, the Red Sox have that budget. So if they give up a top prospect, they will have the money to bring in an elite free agent down the line. 

Boston has little to lose here, even if the players that they would give up turn into legitimate stars, they have the money to replace them, or even sign them back when the time is right. 

But right now, this team needs a closer to anchor its bullpen. Bailey is that guy. With him, other relievers fall into a more natural position, and a weakness turns into a strength. Without him, it’s basically a closer by committee, which rarely works well.

Bailey is hands down the most reliable closer available. He’s better than Francisco Cordero or Ryan Madson, who are free agents. The Red Sox need to pull the trigger and make it happen.


Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Boston Red Sox: How Chase Headley Could Save the Offseason

For lack of a better word, the Boston Red Sox’s offseason has been quiet. Scratch that, it has been dead silent. For a team that was so aggressive in 2011, yet so disappointing in September, Red Sox Nation has been waiting for something big.

The Mark Melancon trade was nice, and the Nick Punto signing adds depth, but those moves are tiny chisels in the rock. It is time Ben Cherington pulled out the jackhammer and went to town.

The Boston Red Sox have been inquiring on starting pitchers, specifically Goo Gonzalez. They also looked into Oakland Athletics closer Andrew Bailey but balked at the asking price of top prospect Will Middlebrooks. As they should have.

I do not think it is a secret that Kevin Youkilis is not the long-term solution at third base. Youkilis, or “Youk” as dubbed by fans, made the move to the hot corner in 2011 after Boston acquired Adrian Gonzalez. The 32-year-old has been a visage of consistency for Boston, posting nearly identical slash lines from 2008-2010 (all equating to an OPS above .955). He is also known for his black-hole glove.

But 2011 was not kind to Kevin Youkilis. Injuries have always been a problem, and moving to a more active position like third seemed to be too much. In 2011, Youk hit .258/.373/.459, hitting a mere 17 home runs (two less than 2010 despite playing in 18 more games). His defense also seemed to hit a wall.

The failed transition was an eye-opener for Boston fans. Will Middlebrooks is now looked at in a new light. The 23-year-old prospect combined for a .285/.328/.506 line between AA and AAA last season, slugging 23 home runs. All things considered, he currently stands as the Boston Red Sox’s next third baseman, making Youkilis expendable.

Middlebrooks’ breakout campaign has not gone unnoticed, and teams are interested. But it would be a big gamble for the Boston Red Sox to relinquish a top prospect that can fill a huge void.

Enter Chase Headley.

Chase Headley is currently the third baseman of the San Diego Padres. Drafted in the second round of the 2005 draft, Headley was in the minors for only three years before he received his first cup of coffee with the Padres in 2007 as a 23-year-old.

Headley, now 27, has shown a great propensity for hitting. His baseball acumen has transformed into stellar patience at the plate. Despite a poor showing with the glove in 2011, Headley has good instincts on defense and posted a stellar 16.5 UZR in 2010 (the best by any third baseman that year). The switch-hitter finally came into his own last season, putting together a career best .289/.374/.399 line in an injury-shortened 113 games.

However, like all San Diego Padres hitters, we need to read between the lines.

It is well known that Petco Park is the best pitchers park in baseball—just talk to Adrian Gonzalez. Its effects have certainly been felt on Chase Headley. In his career, he is hitting .229/.319/.336 at Petco, versus .303/.364/.441 away. In 2011, Headley posted an .864 OPS away, .190 points higher than his .674 OPS at home.

If traded to Boston, I do not think Headley would have as successful a move as A-Goon. Their power is not on the same level, and Gonzalez is a more complete player. However, there is no reason to think Headley could not hit .300, get on base at a .400 clip and hit 15-20 home runs. Sounds a lot like Kevin Youkilis numbers, huh?

This biggest thing standing in the way is the asking price. Word on the street is that the Padres are asking for a lot, but as things stand, the biggest suitor so far has been the Detroit Tigers. Boston’s farm runs much deeper, and that gives them a leg up.

San Diego could use help in the corner outfield spots, which makes Josh Reddick the centerpiece of any deal. Boston could also add one of Anthony Ranaudo or Matt Barnes. It seems like Boston is giving up a lot, but this deal adds a lot of flexibility to the team.

With Chase Headley in position to take over third, suddenly both Kevin Youkilis and Will Middlebrooks become expendable. Youk has long been an OBP holy grail to Billy Beane. Boston could easily package a deal around Youkilis and Middlebrooks (and some fringe prospects) for Gio Gonzalez and Andrew Bailey. Or, they could get a third team involved for Youk and forward the prospects of that deal to Oakland.

In just two easy steps, the Boston Red Sox gain a 27-year-old switch-hitting third baseman of the future, a 25-year-old workhorse with ace potential and a solid 27-year-old closer. Suddenly, the team is reinvigorated with youth and one of the best cores in baseball. Even better is that it is all incredibly plausible.

Someone get Ben Cherington on the phone.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Copyright © 1996-2010 Kuzul. All rights reserved.
iDream theme by Templates Next | Powered by WordPress