Rookie GM Ben Cherington made his most substantial move of the offseason to date, acquiring Andrew Bailey and Ryan Sweeney from the Athletics for right fielder Josh Reddick, along with A-ball 1st base prospect Miles Head and 19 year old pitching prospect Raul Alcantara.
This deal looks very good from the Red Sox’ end, as they’ve addressed an area of pressing need without giving up any prospects who are viewed as substantial parts of their future. Bailey has been an elite reliever since being called up in ’09, with a 2.07 ERA and a strikeout rate of 9 per 9 innings to his credit. However, health is a major concern with the right hander, as he pitched just 41.2 innings in 2011 and just 49 the year before.
The fact that he’s only pitched 90.2 innings over the past two years is concerning, but he has established himself as a legitimate ninth inning option and the Red Sox are hoping that his elbow will hold up enough that he can throw 60+ innings or so. Ryan Sweeney is the other player coming over from Oakland, a rather non-descript fourth outfielder/platoon RF type of guy, but he does own a career on base percentage of .342 and is a well regarded defensive outfielder, and should serve as a serviceable stopgap until Ryan Kalish is ready to take over the position permanently, and he doesn’t figure to be substantially worse than Josh Reddick anyway.
Head and Alcantara both have upside, though both are far away from the majors. Alcantara spent 2011 between rookie ball and Low-A, but did post a 2.20 ERA and 4.17 K/BB ratio over 65.1 frames. As a 19 year old standing at 6’3″ and 180 pounds, there is plenty of reason for optimism, though he’s not regarded as a top prospect. Head spent 2011 between Low-A and High-A, and mashed to the tune of .299/.372/.515. Fangraphs rated him as the Sox’ 15th best prospect.