Who will serve as the Red Sox closer in 2013?
Apparently, the team is not fully enamored with Andrew Bailey, who struggled through an injury plagued debut season in Boston. According to ESPN’s Buster Olney, rival clubs suggest the Red Sox are willing to deal the 28-year-old right-hander.
Bailey, who posted a 2.07 ERA over three seasons with the Oakland A’s, suffered a thumb injury in spring training last March and logged a 7.04 ERA in 19 games for Boston in 2012. He was acquired last offseason along with outfielder Ryan Sweeney for outfielder Josh Reddick, minor league infielder Miles Head and minor league pitcher Raul Alcantara.
Bailey expects to be fully recovered from the thumb injury when he reports to spring training in February. Multiple media reports indicate that he would be the compensation for acquiring manager John Farrell from Toronto, but the Blue Jays received infielder Mike Aviles.
If the Red Sox choose to trade Bailey, they could opt for a closer returning from Tommy John surgery, like free agents Joakim Soria and Brian Wilson, but both right-hander will not be ready to open the 2013 season.
Rubby De La Rosa, the hard-throwing 23-year-old right-hander Boston obtained in the package from the Dodgers last August, is considered a potential top of the rotation starter or a closer at the Major League level. He has a chance to open the 2013 campaign in the Red Sox rotation as the No. 5 starter, but he could be considered for the closer’s role with his ability to hit the high 90s with his fast ball and his mix of pitches.
As Olney noted, Bailey’s trade value is low because of his lackluster debut season with the Red Sox. Boston could work out a deal for Cleveland closer Chris Perez as part of a larger trade that could also include shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera and starting pitcher Justin Masterson.
The Red Sox have reportedly explored acquiring Cabrera and Masterson from the Indians.