Andrew Bailey’s status heading towards Monday night’s non-tender deadline has remained in question, but the Boston Red Sox are believed to be leaning towards retaining the right-hander according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post. Tendering Bailey a contract puts him in line for a projected 2014 salary of $4.1 Million.
It remains to be seen when Bailey will be able to actually contribute to the Red Sox in 2014. The 29 year old appeared in just 30 games this past season before undergoing shoulder surgery in July. At the time it was believed that he’d miss at least the first half of the 2014 season, suggesting to many that the team would likely non-tender him, but it appears that his rehab has been going well up to this point. Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal reports that Bailey has been meeting with team doctors twice a week since the season concluded and he’s expected to begin a throwing program in early January. MacPherson notes that no formal time table has been placed on his return and Bailey declined to speculate:
I don’t want to say I’m ahead of schedule, but things are going really well.
Boston had entered the 2013 season with Joel Hanrahan in line to be the team’s closer, but Bailey was quickly thrust into the role when Hanrahan was lost for the season to injury. Once Bailey went down the role went to Koji Uehara, who thrived in the 9th inning and was a major contributor to the team’s World Series run. Uehara will return to the closer’s role next season, but Bailey could serve as some added depth at the back of the bullpen upon his return. Sherman even suggests that the team could potentially trade him at next summer’s deadline, but that would appear to be a long shot unless he’s able to first prove that he’s healthy.
Injuries have severely limited Bailey since arriving in Boston before the 2012 season (a deal that brought Josh Reddick to Oakland), but Bailey has a relatively strong track record as a reliable reliever – with a 2.64 ERA and 1.055 WHIP across 218.0 IP with the Oakland A’s and Red Sox over the past five seasons.