The New York Yankees have found their "Plan B" for the closer spot just in case things do not work out with David Robertson in 2014.
On Saturday night, the Yankees signed former Boston Red Sox and Oakland A's closer Andrew Bailey to a minor league deal, as Buster Olney of ESPN reported.
Andrew Bailey agreed to terms with the Yankees on a minor-league deal, stacked with incentives.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) February 23, 2014
With the deal, Bailey could earn as much as $1.975 million if he makes the major league roster this season. The deal also includes an option for the 2015 season with a buyout as well.
The 29-year-old veteran started out well pitching for the Oakland A's and was the 2009 American League Rookie of the Year with 26 saves and a 1.84 ERA and did a solid job in his first three seasons out west.
Before the 2012 season, the A's dealt Bailey to the Red Sox and it was nothing but two injury-filled seasons for Bailey, as he needed reconstructive surgery on this thumb in 2012 and then needed shoulder surgery in 2013 and following the season, was non-tendered by Boston and made him a free agent. With the emergence of Koji Uehara, Bailey became expendable on their roster.
The Yankees needed arms for the bullpen with the losses of Joba Chamberlain to the Detroit Tigers and Boone Logan to the Colorado Rockies, plus the retirement of Mariano Rivera last season, so the team looking into someone like Bailey made all the sense and signing him made even more sense.
With Matt Thornton as the lone reliever the team signed, taking a chance on Bailey was something the Yankees needed to do and are hoping that Bailey has recovered from his injuries to the point where he can make the major league roster and contribute; whether it's as a reliever ,setup man or closer.
In 2013, Bailey started out the season as the setup man for Joel Hanrahan, but when Hanrahan went down for the season with an injury, Bailey stepped in and pitched to a 3-1 record with a 3.77 ERA in 30 appearances before an MRI found out that he had a torn labrum in his shoulder and would need surgery to correct it.
If Bailey can be the same reliever that made the Red Sox part with Josh Reddick in order to land him, then the Yankees may have struck gold in making this move. It will likely take a while for Bailey to find his command and feel for the ball and strike zone, but if he does, then he could be a solid force in the back of the Yankees bullpen for a while.
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