As was predicted by many, the A’s have sent All-Star closer Andrew Bailey to the Boston Red Sox. The A’s will also send outfielder Ryan Sweeney to Boston for a package that includes outfielder Josh Reddick, and prospects Miles Head and Raul Alcantara.
Obviously trades are best judged a few years down the line but on the surface this looks like a clear win for the Red Sox to me. Bailey is a proven commodity at the closer position; one of the elite relievers in the game when healthy and is controlled by the team for a few more years. The one knock on Bailey is his health. He’s missed considerable time with arm issues each of the last two years so that might have hurt his trade stock just a bit. But when he’s on the field, he’s lights out and should more than make up for the loss of Jonathan Papelbon.
Ryan Sweeney is slightly overrated in my mind but should be a solid 4th outfielder for the Sox. He’s never lived up to his potential as his physical frame projected but he can hit right-handers fairly well and plays solid defense at all three outfield positions. But my Grandmother will probably hit as many homers as Sweeney next year.
From the A’s point of view, they get a decent but not great package. I like Reddick more than most seem to, especially if he is able to play a capable center field. He’s plenty athletic, has lots of power potential and has a very strong arm but lacks plate discipline. The guy swings at everything which could come back to haunt him. However, if he can get on base at a decent clip, he should have more than enough power to play a corner and could be above average if he stays in center.
Both Miles Head and Raul Alcantara are raw players in the low minors with lots of potential. Head was moved from third base to first in the Sox system but the A’s have indicated they plan on moving him back third again. Don’t know how that’s going to work out but his bat should play if his clove can avoid being a liability. He’s got above average power and a decent approach and he isn’t even 21 yet. He’ll likely start n high A with the A’s and hopefully he’ll make it to AA by the end of the year. Whether or not he succeeds there will show if he’ll be a legit prospect.
I like Alcantara. Good, live arm on a 19 year old with a good frame and room to grow. He should have a mid to upper nineties fastball when he fills out and shows to two secondary pitches (slider and changeup) with some real promise. He is still very raw though, as his pitches lack consistency and he has issues with control and command. But he helps the A’s with upside in the low levels of the minors and will have plenty of time to progress. The A’s have a history with developing young pitchers too.
As much as I like the guys in the trade, this is a high risk/high reward situation. If these guys pan out, it’ll look like a steal for the A’s, but none of these guys are guaranteed to be even an average major leaguer. I would have liked to see the A’s get some guys who were a little safer but it isn’t a terrible deal.
Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle says that the fact that the A’s waited so long to deal Bailey allowed other teams to fill their need for a closer through free agency which likely reduced Bailey’s value. This coincides with the problem I had with the Cahill trade. If you aren’t getting what you want for Bailey now (and it’s entirely possible the A’s did get what they wanted) why trade him. You have Bailey for a couple of more years, you can wait to deal him at the deadline where he could have more value. Of course, he could get injured in that time and then the A’s would get nothing so there is a risk with that scenario too.
This will likely be the end of the A’s blockbuster trades for this offseason. There might be something minor here and there but nothing too big. All in all I think the A’s did fairly well in these trades, which netted them several prospects that will help the rebuilding effort. I know it’s a tough process and one that A’s fans have seen many times before, but it’s the reality of the situation. The A’s are all in for San Jose and this off-season is a product of that process.
A’s show strong interest in Soler: According to Susan Slusser the A’s have strong interest in 19 year old Cuban born outfielder, Jorge Soler. Soler is flying slightly under the radar this offseason because another Cuban outfielder, Yoenis Cespedes, has been steeling all the thunder. Cespedes is a five tool talent but at 26 years old, he likely won’t help the A’s in the short term and comes with a hefty price tag.
Soler, on the other hand, has been said by some to have even more potential. A five tool talent in his own right, Soler would be a perfect, high profile prospect to add to the low minors in the hopes of contention a few years down the line.
It would also be a strong showing to the fans that this current rebuild is more about youth and future prominence than it is about saving money. Soler is sure to demand a large contract if ( and it’s a big if) the A’s can sign him.
About the Author
Written by Josh Muller
My name is Josh Muller. I was born and raised in Oakland, California and currently live in San Francisco. I watch sports religiously and organize my calender year to coincide with baseball season. I'm a diehard A's and Warriors fan, love talking sports all day and believe that the words "Opening Day" are the two greatest in the English language.