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Boston Red Sox: Is Closer Andrew Bailey on His Way Out?

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Boston Red Sox: Is Closer Andrew Bailey on His Way Out?
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Has Bailey already lost the closer's job in Boston?

Maybe the Boston Red Sox saw the same things that the fans and other teams saw from closer Andrew Bailey at the end of the 2012 season.

Straight fastball with very little movement. Struggled in his limited 19 games of action. A 7.04 ERA. 

Terrible. 

According to this tweet from ESPN's Buster Olney, the Sox are open to moving Bailey this winter.

And they should be. Bailey's numbers have declined for the past four seasons and he also cost the Sox the services of Josh Reddick. Talk about a double whammy.

Maybe the 28-year-old Bailey can regain his All-Star form of 2009 and 2010. He was hampered by a thumb injury last year and desperately needs to have a healthy season to raise his value. 

It would serve the Sox well to explore the closer market and see what is available to them.

But, another tweet from Olney last month revealed that the Sox were considering trading Bailey as the compensation to the Blue Jays for manager John Farrell. You don't trade a good closer to a team that you face 18 times per season unless you are not concerned about facing him.

Adding a better closer would be a way for the Sox to significantly improve their pitching staff with one move. Maybe spending the money needed to bring in Rafael Soriano on a three-year contract would be a better way to go.

The 32-year-old Soriano has already shown that he can handle the pressure of New York and the AL East division by pitching with the Yankees and Rays.

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Soriano was excellent in the closer's role after Mariano Rivera was lost for the season. Soriano is unlikely to return to the Yankees in a set-up role if Mo returns, and could make the move to the Sox if the money is right.

The Sox have two other very interesting options if they are unwilling to go with either Bailey or Soriano.

Brian Wilson and Joakim Soria have both had success at the major league level as closers. Both are coming off of major injuries that would make them much more inclined to take a one-year contract to rebuild their value. Both would likely not have an impact until June at the earliest.

Wilson is of particular interest. He is a New England native, having been born and raised in New Hampshire. He has also had tremendous success with the San Francisco Giants, who may be unwilling to bring Wilson back in 2013 due to his salary according to this report from Henry Schulman at SFGate.

Wilson is also a character of the highest order and someone that would have the ability to keep the team and clubhouse loose.

The 30-year-old Wilson is still recovering from Tommy John surgery and might be unable to start the season for the Sox, but would be a good insurance policy if they decide to go with Bailey to start the season.

Soria has sent signals that he would like to be a closer again, but also might have to resign himself to earning the job after missing all of the 2012 season due to Tommy John surgery. Soria has been an excellent closer for the Royals, holding the job full time since 2008.

Denis Poroy/Getty Images
Could New England native Wilson be the next closer?

This tweet from Fox Sports' Jon Paul Morosi says the Sox have already checked in on Soria, and that he makes sense as insurance if they are not convinced that Bailey can hold the job all season.

Both Wilson and Soria, if healthy, would represent an upgrade from what Bailey has shown the past two seasons.

It would serve the Sox well to protect themselves in the bullpen as much as possible next season, especially if they are reluctant to give Bailey the ball to close out games.  

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