Alex Cora has a new addition to his coaching staff. The Boston Red Sox made their first big acquisition of the offseason by signing Andrew Bailey to be the team's new pitching coach.
Bailey, who was let go by the San Francisco Giants following the firing of Gabe Kapler and subsquent hiring of Bob Melvin, is well-regarded in most circles as one of the better minds in the sport when it comes to the pitching side of things.
While helping some of the Red Sox current players get the most out of their abilties, with such a need for pitching within the Red Sox organization, might Bailey be able to recruit some of his former players?
1. Andrew Bailey could recruit RHP Jakob Junis to the Red Sox
There's some debate among the Boston faithful about whether or not the Red Sox should prioritize help for the starting rotation or the bullpen. While a case can be made for both, perhaps the best way to bolster both areas at once is to sign a free agnt like Jakob Junis.
Junis, 31, enters free agency this offseason after a major league career split between the Kansas City Royals and San Francisco Giants. Junis' time in KC was defined by an ERA near 5.00 and an inability to consistently throw strikes.
Junis was released by the Royals after the 2021 season and latched on with the Giants. With Andrew Bailey as his new pitching coach, Junis began to turn a corner. In 2022, Junis' FIP dropped significantly, going from 5.06 the previous two seasons combined to just 3.65 in 2022.
Jakob Junis was able to pair that bounce-back season in 2022 with another strong campaign in 2023. The right-hander went 4-3 with a 3.87 ERA and 3.74 FIP while stretching his performance across 86 innings of work, including four starts.
Junis could be a terrific spot-starter for the Boston Red Sox in 2024 or be used strictly as a reliever. With a walk-rate of less than six-percent, Junis did a very good job of keeping the base paths clear last season, something that would fit in very well in Boston.