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MLB Analysis: Boston Red Sox Face Interesting Pitching Dilemma

When Boston made the trade for Andrew Bailey I thought, “nice.” He’s a young closer with great stuff and, despite his injury problems, had put up really good numbers for a pretty average Oakland A’s team.

The injuries were a worry, for sure, but the Sox had acquired Mark Melancon as a security blanket. The same Mark Melancon who had 25 saves after being thrust in to the closing role for the lowly Astros.

Flash to now and Mark Melancon has spent extended time in the minors and Bailey has yet to pitch on a big league field. Alfredo Aceves has been the closer and ol’ head huntin’ Vicente Padilla has been holding down the 8th inning.

Not exactly how Ben Cherington (Larry Lucchino) drew it all up.

Now Andrew Bailey is set to return to the bullpen after pitching extremely well in his rehab spots. Having only allowed one run on six hits, walking one and striking out 10 in 6.3 innings.

If I had any control over the team then Bailey would be the closer by the end of the week. Surprisingly, Bobby Valentine has yet to ask me what to do with any part of his team this season. That may have something to do with the fact that he doesn’t really have the final say in a lot of issues but, this time, the Red Sox disfunction may actually work out in Andrew Bailey’s favor.

Alfredo Aceves has done a very nice job of filling in as the closer, but the Red Sox went out and got Bailey because they expected him to be the replacement for Jonathan Papelbon. What would make the sting of losing Josh Reddick and his 25 home runs hurt a little less? Having the guy who you traded him for end the season pitching well as your closer.

Does Aceves, despite all his saves, inspire any kind of confidence when he takes the mound in the 9th with the game on the line? The only thing that I’m totally sure of every time he goes out there is that in his spare time he probably chases kids around his neighborhood wearing nothing but his compression shorts and a murderous grin.

I think Aceves can help the ball club in so many different ways that it’s a waste to have him be a middle of the road closer when Andrew Bailey (if healthy) is one of the best in the game.

Don’t put Bailey in right away. Have him get his bearings first and then by the time the weekend comes around, and the Sox have undoubtedly been swept by the Orioles, trot Bailey out there in the 9th and give your fans a little something to look forward to next season.

Show your fans that you can actually get something of  value in a trade. Because this is no longer about this season. It’s about proving to your fans that you can actually put a winning product on the field, at some point.  Aceves at closer doesn’t say that to me in the least.

It may not be this weekend, but soon, very soon, Andrew Bailey will be the closer for the Boston Red Sox. This will most likely be the last time you’ll be able to get a top-tier closer off the waiver wire, so I suggest adding and stashing him if you’re in need of a consistent save source.

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