According to ESPN’s Buster Olney, the A’s are expected to trade Andrew Bailey this offseason. The timing makes too much sense, as Olney states Bailey’s value “may be at its highest”. After watching Heath Bell leave via free agency, Olney reports that the Padres are the latest team to express interest in Bailey. The other clubs that have checked in on the 27-year-old closer are the Rangers and the Reds.
In an offseason that brought a bountiful free agent market for closers, Bailey provides clubs a less expensive alternative. Entering his first year of arbitration, Bailey won’t cost teams the significant multi-year contracts that free agent closers such as Jonathan Papelbon and Heath Bell are requiring. However, what he will cost is a package of prospects.
The A’s made this clear when they reportedly requested first baseman Yonder Alonso from the Reds in exchange for Bailey. Cincinnati turned down Oakland’s offer, but the A’s figure to continue seeking top return for their young finisher.
Over his three years with the A’s, Bailey has maintained an ERA of 2.07 and a WHIP south of 1.00. Bailey has maintained a SO/9 of 9.0 and BB/9 of 2.5 while compiling 75 saves since 2009.
The Rangers, who have already signed Joe Nathan to be their closer for 2012, have shown interest in Bailey this offseason. Considered by most to already own a strong back end of the rotation, it has been reported that the Rangers will be adding another late-inning arm this winter.
If Bailey were to join the fold, he would likely slide in as the Rangers setup man, pushing reliever Mike Adams to a 7th inning role. The combo of Nathan, Bailey and Adams would be one of the more formidable late-inning trios in the league.
San Diego has lost their veteran closer, as Bell agreed to a three-year $27 million contract with the Miami Marlins, and do not have the financial flexibility to afford a costly finisher.
As closers continue to come off the board, interest in Bailey figures to increase.
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