The Boston Red Sox and Oakland Athletics completed a five player
trade on Wednesday afternoon, as Oakland continues to unload major league talent for prospects. Andrew Bailey
will head to the Red Sox along with outfielder Ryan Sweeney
in exchange for outfielder Josh Reddick
, prospect Miles Head
and right-handed pitcher Raul Alcantara
Andrew Bailey, 27, has enjoyed his fair share of success on the mound since his 2009 rookie season, which earned him American League Rookie of the Year honors. Over his career, Bailey carries a 2.07 ERA, 174 strikeouts in 174 innings pitched, and walked only 49 in the same amount of innings, while converting 75 saves in 84 major league opportunities. Bailey will be under team control through 2014, and Boston hopes he will serve as the team's closer during his tenure as a member of the Red Sox.
No one questions Bailey's ability to dominate at the end of the game when on the mound, but most worry about his ability to stay healthy enough to be able to take the mound in the ninth inning. The New Jersey native has missed a significant amount of time the past two seasons, landing on the disabled list in 2010 because of a right intercostal strain, and again in 2011 for a strained right forearm. Even though Bailey's save totals have been consistent in his three major league seasons (26, 25, and 24, respectively) his innings pitched totals in the past two seasons (49 and 41 2/3 respectively) have been almost half of the 83 1/3 innings pitched in his rookie season.
Ryan Sweeney, also heading to Boston from Oakland, has a career triple-slash line of .283/.342/.378 in his six seasons while playing the outfield for Oakland. As of now, Sweeney will have a chance to compete for the starting right field job in Boston, but would serve better as a platoon player, and more than likely will be the team's fourth outfielder by opening day.
In return, Oakland acquired 24 year-old outfielder Josh Reddick. Reddick was set to serve as Boston's primary right fielder in 2012, and now appears to fill that role Oakland. Over three seasons with Boston, the Georgia native owns a .248/.290/.416 triple-slash line in 403 career plate appearances. He seemed to show considerable improvement in 2011, hitting seven home runs with a .280 batting average in 254 at-bats, but struggled to make contact as the season progressed, showing he had a hard time adapting to pitchers' approach to him once there was a "book" on him.
Even though neither of the two prospects heading to Oakland have yet to make it to the Double-A level in Boston's organization, both have had a tremendous amount of success at the lower minor league levels. 20 year-old Miles Head showed impressive power, hitting 22 home runs with a .515 slugging percentage in 2011 while playing with both of Boston's Single-A affiliates. His 1.022 on-base-plus-slugging (OPS) over 298 plate appearances lead the Low-A Southern Atlantic League at seasons end. Unfortunately, defense is somewhat of a concern, as Boston is transitioning him from third base to first base. Head should start the season in Double-A, and if he can continue to progress at the plate at his current pace, Oakland fans will have reason to get excited.
19 year-old Raul Alcantara spent the 2011 season between Boston's rookie league and low Single-A clubs. In nine starts at the rookie level, Alcantara carried a 0.75 ERA and 0.60 WHIP, striking out 36 batters in 48 innings pitched. Whether it was fatigue, the better competition at low-A, or a little bit of both, that success did not follow the Dominican native during the last part of the season. His ERA ballooned to 6.23, along with his WHIP to 1.79, while striking out 14 batters in 17 1/3 innings pitched in the New York-Pennsylvania League. Still very young, Alcantara will not be major league relevant until at least 2014.
From a fantasy stand point, no player's value really changed in this trade. Andrew Bailey stays in the same tier of closers, with owners who are not interested in health risks avoiding him. Sweeney's value decreases slightly, and will take an even larger decline if Boston signs a true starting right fielder before the season starts. Going the other way, Reddick's clear path to playing time may be negated by the move to a more pitcher friendly park in Oakland. Dynasty league owners may want to monitor Miles Head's progress this season, as he may get to the big leagues quicker in Oakland than he would have in Boston.