When the Boston Red Sox acquired reliever Mark Melancon from the Houston Astros, it looked as if they had found a potential replacement for departed closer Jonathan Papelbon. But the Red Sox didn't stop dealing, acquiring low-salary closer Andrew Bailey and outfielder Ryan Sweeney from the Oakland A's. From Buster Olney:
The Red Sox have acquired Andrew Bailey from Oakland... Details to come ...
Olney later elaborated on the deal in a series of tweets. To wit: Bailey and Sweeney went to the Red Sox in exchange for Josh Reddick and prospects Miles Head and Raul Alcantara. As a reminder of what the A's might have been looking for in a deal:
An outfielder. They could have used an outfielder. But they had to trade their only one to get one, and Reddick had a nice season last year, hitting .280/.327/.457 in 254 at-bats. For a 24-year-old, though, his career .278/.332/.500 line isn't that impressive, especially when considering that his best minor-league years came in A-ball.
Sweeney might be the averagest player who ever averaged, breaking up a three-year streak of 99 OPS+ with a .265/.346/.341 line in 2011 that was good for a 91 OPS+.
The centerpiece from the Red Sox' perspective, though, is obviously Bailey, a two-time All Star and former Rookie of the Year who has saved 75 games with a 2.07 ERA over his three-year career. He's arbitration eligible, and ineligible for free agency until after the 2014 season. He is also somewhat injury-prone, though, having pitched fewer than 50 innings in each of the last two seasons.
It seems like an underwhelming trade, but the A's weren't exactly dealing from a position of strength.
Meanwhile, the Red Sox get a new closer for the next three years at about $35 million less than their last one will make, and they didn't have to give up a top-ten prospect to do it. Not a bad deal if you can swing it.