When the Boston Red Sox acquired reliever Mark Melancon from the Houston Astros, it looked as if they had found a potential replacement for departed closer Jonathan Papelbon. But the Red Sox didn't stop dealing, acquiring low-salary closer Andrew Bailey and outfielder Ryan Sweeney from the Oakland A's. From Buster Olney:The Red Sox have acquired Andrew Bailey from Oakland... Details to come ...Olney later elaborated on the deal in a series of tweets. To wit: Bailey and Sweeney went to the Red Sox in exchange for Josh Reddick and prospects Miles Head and Raul Alcantara.
As Grant noted, the A's were in need of outfielders, but they included the only one they currently had to get Reddick. So they're still at one. Which is not enough.
And anyone who's upset about losing Ryan Sweeney for baseball-related reasons is probably wrong about whatever they're thinking. Sweeney is a good defender who hits for no power and is a good fourth/fifth outfielder for a contender. The A's are not a contender. Obviously there are some Sweeney fans out there who will be upset for other reasons, and to them I say, "Sorry, Mr. and Mrs. Sweeney."
Obviously Bailey is the most valuable piece of this trade, but without him here next season, the A's will win 71 games instead of 74. He would have been very expensive by the time the A's are ready to be good in 2015 or 2016. And while he's had good results, he's not without warts. Bailey has had trouble staying healthy and has benefited a great deal from the A's outfield defense and, more importantly, the cavernous Coliseum. Boston just acquired a good pitcher, three years away from being costly, but he's not Papelbon.
Of the three players the A's received, only Reddick is close to the majors. Reddick has had 400 plate appearances in the big leagues over the last three years and is only 24 years old. Apparently he can play all three outfield positions, but centerfield in Oakland is different than centerfield for other teams (though to be fair, it's no picnic in Boston either). As a hitter, he doesn't profile as anything special. I kind of see him as Ryan Sweeney with more power and some upside remaining.
If that's the case, then the trade really boils down to Bailey for two prospects that can't legally drink yet. I know nothing about prospects and have never claimed to, but this guy does, and it seems like both prospects are high-risk, high-reward type of guys. For an injury-prone closer, I think it's fair value to get two shots at a player with a high ceiling.
The Opening Day roster next season may remind us of the scene from Major League in which the Tribe front office attempts to put together a roster ("This guy's dead!"). Of the guys remaining, Suzuki makes sense to move if there's a taker, both Dallas Braden and Brandon McCarthy are candidates to be on their way if they show they're healthy and effective, and most of the bullpen should of course be as well. (Grant Balfour, Brian Fuentes, and anyone else making more than the minimum).
It'll become a familiar refrain, but the losing for the next couple of years is part of the plan. I suppose it's your opinion of the plan that really matters.