A’s continue spending cuts, deal closer


BY WADE MCMILLIN, Couchsideshow.com editor

The Oakland Athletics traded closer Andrew Bailey to the Boston Red Sox on Wednesday evening. Photo by: ztil301/ Flickr

The Oakland Athletics were back at ruining their chances of ever sniffing the playoffs for at least the next ten years by trading all-star closer Andrew Bailey on Wednesday evening.

Oakland General Manager Billy Beane shipped the 27-year-old to the Boston Red Sox after trading starting pitchers Trevor Cahill and Gio Gonzales earlier this offseason. The third major move by the Athletics this winter has now left the team’s pitching staff depleted and it doesn’t look as if Oakland will have one household name on its roster by the time spring training rolls around. They still could have guys like Daric Barton and Kurt Suzuki still around, but don’t pencil them in on your scorecards until at least opening day because Oakland changes its makeup more times than Lady Gaga at a sold out concert.

Once again, the A’s received a heap of very young prospect and the organization should be delighted that their farm system should be one of the best in baseball. But none of the guys Oakland has acquired yet, are considered everyday Major Leaguers by anyone’s standards. For Bailey, the A’s received outfielder Josh Reddick, first base prospect Miles Head and pitching prospect Raul Alcantara from the Red Sox. Oakland also shipped Ryan Sweeney to Boston after the outfielder spent the past four years with the A’s, primarily as a starter.

So it looks like Boston received the better end of the deal. No duh. That should be expected by this point by any Oakland fan. These moves seem like MLB suicide, but the transactions are completely necessary for Oakland’s future plans. It’s reported the A’s will move to San Jose sometime in the near future and to help pay for a new stadium, the club is trying to save money anyway possible.

That has left Beane in quite a predicament. I don’t think he’s ever seen a budget this small and now he’s going to have to fill a roster with only peanuts to offer. His three mega moves this offseason are just the start. And don’t be surprised if his highest paid player makes somewhere in the $4 million per year range. It’s always been like this is Oakland and it always will be, at least in the baseball market where money rules.

CLOSER ROLE

Boston Red Sox: Things might get interesting when Bobby Valentine has to choose his closer for the 2012 season. Boston doesn’t exactly have a guy who just runs away with the role after losing Jonathan Papelbon to the Philadelphia Philles via free agency. That should create a possible position battle between Bailey and Boston’s other big bullpen upgrade, Mark Melancon, who Boston landed through a trade with the Houston Astros. Both Melancon and Bailey had success last year, but I believe it’s Bailey who ultimately wins the role just because of his talent level. Daniel Bard also won’t be considered because it’s rumored the Red Sox want to move him to their starting rotation.

Oakland Athletics: The A’s have always had a good bullpen, so it probably shouldn’t be too hard to fill Bailey’s shoes. It should be a four-horse race between youngsters Fautino De Los Santos and Joey Devine and veterans Grant Balfour and Brian Fuentes. Balfour and Fuentes should have the upper hands just because of their experience. Balfour can definitely hold the role with an upper 90s fastball and Fuentes could also find success because of his confusing delivery.

 


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