Although the trade that sent Andrew Bailey and Ryan Sweeney to Boston for Josh Reddick and two prospects was generally praised at the time of the trade, Ben Cherington caught some major flak last year. While Bailey languished on the DL with a thumb injury and Sweeney was mediocre apart from a strong April, Josh Reddick hit 32 home runs and drove in 85 runs for the AL West champion Athletics. It was easy to criticize the trade after last year, but this year, things are off to an entirely different start.
For the first time in a couple of years, Bailey managed to stay healthy throughout spring training and has gotten off to a roaring start this year. Through 7.1 innings this season, Bailey owns a 1.23 ERA and a whopping 12 strikeouts to only 2 walks and 3 hits. Not only has he been magnificent, but with Joel Hanrahan moving to the DL with a sore hamstring, Bailey took over as the closer and has saved 2/3 chances so far.
Fangraphs shows that his fastball is up a few ticks from last year, as his 94.8 mph average this year is the highest of any season in his career. His curveball has also been a dominant pitch for him as well and more than anything else, his statistics show a dramatic decrease in batters’ contact. Batters have swung at nearly a third of his pitches outside of the strike zone and he appears to be getting back to the form he showed in his early seasons in Oakland.
While Bailey has been lighting up both the radar gun and the save column, Josh Reddick has struggled mightily in his second April with the A’s. He is batting a miniscule .109/.236/.217 with 1 home run and 7 RBIs (though he does have a nice beard). Reddick is by far the coldest hitter on a red hot A’s team right now, and has been a black hole in the middle of that lineup.
Though Reddick’s 32 home runs last year were immensely helpful to the Athletics and that can’t be revoked, Andrew Bailey hasn’t been a slouch either. He was injured all of last year, and is just now showing what he is truly able to do. I wish Reddick the best as I enjoyed watching him man right field, but it’s not fair to say that the A’s got a bargain in that trade either.