In a somewhat unexpected move, the Red Sox have chosen to tender a contract to relief pitcher Andrew Bailey. On performance alone, Bailey is absolutely deserving of the tender; however, Bailey has dealt with extensive injuries since joining the Red Sox two seasons ago. Bailey is expected to miss the first half of the season after undergoing shoulder surgery in July, but is still expected to earn upwards of $4 million for the 2014 season.
In 2013, Bailey started the season as a setup man but was quickly thrust into the closer role after Joel Hanrahan‘s season-ending injury. Bailey served that role for more than a month before the emergence of Koji Uehara. Overall, Bailey had himself a solid season– posting a 3.77 ERA with strong peripherals including a 12.24 K/9, 3.25 K/BB ratio, and 3.20 xFIP.
When healthy, Bailey is an excellent reliever. However, it is still hard to reason paying more than $4 million for half a season of him. Perhaps this is a cover as the Red Sox try to negotiate an extension with Bailey, who is still only 29 years old. However, more likely they are just trying to keep another closing option in fold and retain the phenomenal depth which helped achieve a championship in 2013.