Trade Bait: Athletics gutting continues with Bailey to Boston

Billy Beane has continued his assault on the complete tear down of his roster. The team’s closer, Andrew Bailey, has been shopped around for a while and is now in the hands of the Boston Red Sox. The Sox also land outfielder Ryan Sweeney in the package that sends Josh Reddick, Miles Head, and Raul Alcantara to the Athletics.

Bailey brings the Red Sox a solid closer and pushes new acquisition Mark Melancon to a setup role, a good 1-2 punch late in the game. There is speculation that the Sox will now move Daniel Bard to the rotation, taking them out of the Matt Garza bidding. I guess Ben Cherington’s old boss is asking too much for the Cubs’ starter.

The Red Sox also obtain outfielder Ryan Sweeney in the deal. Once a top prospect, Sweeney is now more of a fourth or fifth outfielder on a good team. He should passify as replacement for Josh Reddick‘s defense in Boston.

Josh Reddick had a very nice debut in Boston last season, but I’m not too fond of his minor league statistics. His offense may struggle in the spacious ballpark in Oakland. Josh is still young though and can develop into a reliable offensive cog, but don’t look for stardom out of him. Defensively, Reddick will fit in fine for the Athletics, some scouts say he has the range for center but his arm is perfect for right field.

Miles Head is a 20-year-old first base prospect that hit .299/.372/.515 between A and High-A ball last season. He was drafted as a third baseman and some dream that he could return there with his good arm strength, but the reality of his range, or lack thereof, forces him to stay at first rather than third or a corner outfield spot. Right-handed 1B/DHs with limited range seem to be a dime a dozen, Beane has collected more than his share alone in his tenure. But he will have to excel in the upper levels to remain a viable prospect.

If he develops as hoped, pitcher Raul Alcantara could be the catch of this deal. At 6′-3″ and 180 pounds, the young hurled has some projectabilty to his body. He already throws in the low to mid 90s, but it he has been unable to sustain high velocities, something that should be resolved as he fills out. He has two mediocre off-speed offerings, but he’s also plenty young and could improve on those relatively fast. He could turn into a starter, but I see him as more of a two-pitch reliever down the road.

In addition to the prospects brought back, the Athletics will clear out nearly $5 million in salary with this deal. Bailey’s projected $3.5 million and Sweeney’s projected $1.6 million post-arbitration figures will be coming off the books, with only Reddick’s currently on the major league roster.

With concerns over Bailey’s elbow and the reliever market overflowing, Beane wasn’t going to get top dollar in return for his closer. But he did marginally improve his outfield while taking a gamble on a couple risky low-level young prospects with upside. All that while shedding some salary as well. If Bailey’s arm holds up, Boston made out really well too. They now have a very strong back end to their bullpen. I’m just not sold on Daniel Bard possibly moving into the rotation.

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