Roche: Red Sox Take Major Step In Right Direction

By Dan Roche, WBZ-TV Sports

BOSTON (CBS) – Joe Giza, a producer in the WBZ-TV sports office, blurted out as soon as the news broke the Red Sox had acquired closer Andrew Bailey from Oakland, “remember the last closer they got from the A’s?”

Yep. That would be Keith Foulke. And we all remember what he did.

I’m not saying that Andrew Bailey is that kind of pitcher just yet. After all, Foulke was coming to Boston off an incredible 2003 season where he saved 43 games in 86.2 innings of work. He had only allowed 56 hits while walking 20 and striking out 88. He was also 9-1 with a 2.08 ERA. Pretty eye-popping numbers.

Read: Bailey ‘Feeling Good,’ Ready To Close In Boston

Bailey had lingering injury issues last season and didn’t pitch until May 29th. He didn’t put up numbers that were as good as his first two seasons. In 42 games he was 0-4 with a 3.24 ERA with 24 saves in 26 chances, which is very good.

In pouring over his numbers from last season a positive sign was his stats in save vs. non-save situations:

In 15 non-save games he went 0-3 with a 4.91 ERA.  He gave up eight earned runs on 15 hits over 14.2 innings.

In 27 save situations Bailey went 0-1 with a 2.33 ERA. He allowed seven earned runs on 19 hits in 27 innings.

I also found it interesting that Bailey was familiar with new manager Bobby Valentine. The two have done various charity work in Connecticut, where they both live. That can’t hurt as far as familiarity is concerned.

The move also allows newly acquired reliever Mark Melancon to step into a set-up role. Melancon will join Matt Albers, Bobby Jenks, Alfredo Aceves, Scott Atchison, Andrew Miller, Franklin Morales, Felix Doubront, as well as possibly Daniel Bard.

Listen: Peter Abraham On Options In RF

That is pretty good depth heading into Spring Training. It also allows the Sox the ability to move either Bard or Aceves (or both) into the starting rotation if they want to. Although, I would still prefer to have both remain in the pen.

Finally, sources I have had exchanges with tell me that there is still a possibility the Sox add some starting pitching. However, it doesn’t look like they will pursue a right-handed hitting outfielder. The Sox were impressed with Mike Aviles in Puerto Rico while they also hope Darnell McDonald can return to his 2010 form.

But the bottom line is the Red Sox have their closer, and took a major step in the right direction towards the 2012 season.

Read: Dan Roche’s Sports Blog

Follow WBZ-TV’s Dan Roche on Twitter @RochieWBZ

More from Dan Roche
  • George

    Cherrington is showing some remarkable thriftiness, value, judgment and even shrewdness in his low cost quality acquisitions so far this off season. He seems to have a much better handle on the young talent coming up and understands the need to constantly keep refreshing his team with bright young “low cost” talent as Tampa Bay does. Ben has “IMPRESSED” me so far as a GM with really good practical judgment. Don’t mean to bash Theo here but Ben seems to have “seen the light” and not “automatically” think that a big name free agent is usually the answer. Usually a low cost quality young talent “under the radar” that is lean and hungry has much more “upside potential”. I love the Bailey & Melancon acquisitions. It is rare to find established players that get the big paycheck/contract and then don’t develop shades of the Manny Ramirez prima dona complex of “dogging it”. Young, healthy, talented and hungry is usually the best way to go.

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