Red Sox acquire RHP Andrew Bailey and OF Ryan Sweeney for OF Josh Reddick, RHP Raul Alcantara and 1B Miles Head.
ESPN’s Buster Olney has just broken the news that one of my predictions has finally come true. The more newsworthy way of looking at it is that the Red Sox have acquired a very good closer for a fairly light-looking package.
Despite GM Ben Cherington’s quotes about being comfortable with the idea of Mark Melancon being the team’s closer, it was always a safe bet that the team would look to bring in another reliever with Bailey and Ryan Madson being the biggest names available. Bailey has had some health problems and his numbers will almost certainly take a hit while moving from the Oakland Coliseum to Fenway Park, but he’s a very good late inning option with strong peripheral numbers for his career. Acquiring him for Reddick, Alcantara and Head looks to be a good move from Cherington as he tries to upgrade the Boston pitching staff from last year.
Reddick v Sweeney looks close to a wash to me. Sweeeny’s batting practice power is near-legendary but Reddick holds the advantage as a hitter, while Sweeney has the better glove and appraoch. The greater chance that he can play centre field makes Sweeney the better fit as either a 4th outfielder or the left handed half of a right field platoon. There is also a real chance that Reddick has a sub-.300 OBA next year playing half his games in the cavernous Coliseum.
Miles Head and Raul Alcantara (click through for scouting reports) are the sort of lottery tickets who usually don’t pan out but are worth taking a shot on. Alcantara is generally seen as the better prospect. SoxProspects.com’s Ian Cundall see’s Alcantara as having the ceiling of a number 3 starter once his body fills out but he’s undoubtedly got a long way to go before he has any chance of seeing the majors. Cundall also describes Head as ‘a fringy bad-bodied first baseman’ which is the sort of player who isn’t going to get a chance in Boston anytime soon. Ultimately these seem to be two fairly fungible prospects who the Red Sox probably won’t regret giving up.
While this move looks to be a good one for Boston, it does beg the question of what the corresponding moves will be. Sweeney and Ryan Kalish are now at the top of the Red Sox right field depth chart so there looks to be a good chance that Cherington brings in a Andruw Jones or Ryan Ludwick type player to create some competition or, preferably, a platoon partnership. There are also still rotation issues to address, particularly if Daniel Bard doesn’t stick as a starter (Hiroki Kuroda would be nice). But for today, the Red Sox have done a good job of addressing a need by trading assets that won’t be much missed to bring in a good, cheap talent.