Bailey to Remain Closer, The Right Decision
This week Joel Hanrahan returned from his disabled list stint and John Farrell announced Andrew Bailey will remain the closer. Hanrahan was put right into Tuesday’s game in the eight inning with the Red Sox down one run and allowed a run of his own. Acquired from Pittsburgh in the offseason Hanrahan did collect three early saves this year but did certainly make it interesting in doing so. His last game before the disabled list he walked the first two batters he faced and was pulled without recording an out. With Hanrahan out, the bullpen didn’t miss a beat with Bailey taking over the closers role.
Bailey, a former AL Rookie of the Year with Oakland has done a good job as the closer and has recorded some big strikeouts. He does not look like the pitcher they had last year. Most of his year was lost because of a thumb injury in spring training. While Bailey was hurt, Josh Reddick, who the Sox traded for Bailey put up some great numbers in Oakland leaving Sox fans wondering why this traded was made in the first place. This year Reddick has struggled and Bailey is looking good. Bailey has only surrendered two runs in 12 1/3 innings pitched while collecting 20 strikeouts. Hanrahan on the other hand has given up 7 runs in only 5 2/3 innings pitched.
Going into spring training Red Sox manager John Farrell named Hanrahan the closer leaving it no competition and letting Bailey know he was the 8th inning guy. On opening day Bailey came in the 7th inning to strike out Kevin Youkilis while Hanarahan closed it out in the 9th. With Hanrahan not having clean innings and Bailey looking good in the 8th the talk of Bailey closing came up in the first week among media and fans. When Hanrahan went down with a hamstring injury Bailey stepped in right away. The team was talking about Hanrahan’s mechanics being effected from his injury while I just think he wasn’t pitching well. He was shut down right away and kept throwing how bad could it have been? He went down for a rehab assignment at Triple A Pawtucket and surrended a home run in his first appearance. Not sure this is closer materal.
What the Red Sox gave up for Hanrahan might seem minimal now until we see Jerry Sands in the majors and if Stolmy Pimental develops into what the Red Sox thought he could be a few years ago. Mark Melancon did not enjoy his stay in Boston all too well and spent most his year in Pawtucket. Ivan DeJesus, who the Sox got in the Dodgers trade may be a career fringe infielder bouncing between the majors bench and Triple A. Hanrahan is making $7 million this season in his last year of arbitration before becoming a free agent so this year may be his only in a Red Sox uniform. Bailey is making $5 million and has one more year of team control. I see it as easier to keep Bailey happy this year and next and maybe bruise the feelings of Hanrahan as this might be a one and done situation.
The 8th inning seems to be Koji Uehara’s mainstay right now when the team has a lead. The team however does not want to pitch him in too many back to back days as he is getting up there in age and wants to keep him in position where he will be most effective. You have to love his attitude on the field getting pumped up after big defensive plays and high fiving everyone and I mean everyone in the dugout after his innings pitched. Before Tuesday Junichi Tazawa had looked untouchable in the early innings of relief so Hanrahan losing the closer role may put more pressure on him to pitch well if he wants to get into pressure situations or he will be a pitcher who comes in when the team is losing. Andrew Bailey is the closer right now and that is the right decision.