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The Red Sox finally made a big move this offseason. On Wednesday evening it was reported that the team was involved in a 5-player deal that sent outfielder Josh Reddick and two prospects to the Athletics in exchange for closer Andrew Bailey and outfielder Ryan Sweeney.
There have been questions as to how the Red Sox pitching staff would function in 2012 with question marks in the starting rotation as well as who would close games after the departure of Jonathan Papelbon in free agency. The bullpen has now been sorted, with the Sox trading for Mark Melancon earlier in the offseason and now Bailey arrives from an Oakland team that recently parted with ace Gio Gonzalez.
The new-look Red Sox bullpen should feature Bailey as the closer with Melancon or Daniel Bard handling the eighth inning depending on if Bard transitions to becoming a starter. That remains the problem for the Sox, as they have little depth in the rotation beyond Jon Lester, Josh Beckett, and Clay Buchholz. One of the other spots will likely be won in Spring training by Bard or Alfredo Aceves, with the other solidifying the bullpen. It would be too much to ask of two relievers to be relied on as everyday starters throughout a regular season, so the Sox are still down a starter.
After using trades to acquire players this offseason, it is possible now that the Sox would consider spending some money to fill out their roster. They should look into starters like Joe Saunders or Edwin Jackson, both of whom could fill the fourth or fifth slots in the rotation. There has also been some speculation that the Red Sox could trade Kevin Youkilis before the season starts, but for now we will see what Ben Cherington’s course of action is after acquiring Bailey.