Closing time: Red Sox acquire Andrew Bailey

Andrew Bailey is on his way to Boston. (Len Redkoles/Getty Images)

Boston GM Ben Cherington has landed closer Andrew Bailey from the Oakland A’s today. The deal centers on OF Josh Reddick. Also headed West are prospects Miles Head and Raul Alcantera.

Adding Bailey clears up a lot of questions in Boston’s pen. He will replace Jonathan Papelbon as the closer. At least in the short-term he’ll be a much cheaper option.

This should make the role of recently acquired Mark Melancon more apparent as well. Melancon will most likely serve as a bridge to the ninth inning, especially if Daniel Bard makes the move to the rotation. If not, Bard, Melancon and Bailey will make a formidable back end to the pen.

The knock on Bailey is an inability to stay on the mound. He has been on the DL for significant time the past two seasons. If needed, Melancon will provide solid insurance at closer.

Also, bare in mind Bailey has yet to crack 30 saves in his career. A number that may be deflated due to playing on some poor teams in Oakland. Next year, Boston should easily crack the 90-win plateau offering Bailey ample opportunity to post career numbers, assuming he is healthy.

Losing Reddick does further cloud the situation in right field, but the Sox will also get OF Ryan Sweeney in the trade. Sweeney has played all the outfield spots and does handle right-handed pitching well. This may pave the way for an internal candidate like Ryan Kalish to see more platoon duty on the big-league roster.

If Kalish isn’t ready to step up, Cherington’s work may not be finished. He’ll have to pursue one of the remaining right-handed bats on the free agent market. Ryan Ludwick and Cody Ross are still available to fill that role.

Losing Head and Alcantera shouldn’t have much impact. Neither was included in Baseball America’s Top 10 Prospects on this year’s organization review. Tough to tell as neither has played above single-A and they are both 20 years old or younger.

Next on the docket has to be securing help for the rotation. Rumors are either Bard or Alfredo Aceves will take the fourth or fifth spot. That would still leave an opening for one starter. Pursuing an innings-eater like Edwin Jackson or Paul Maholm would make sense. They could still be in on a Roy Oswalt or Hiroki Kuroda, as well.

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