In mid-August, Billy Eppler pulled one of his legendary dumpster dives that we’ve already grown quite accustomed to, as he signed pitcher Andrew Bailey to a minor league deal. I’m not trying to throw shade at Eppler’s repeated attempts at finding diamonds in need of a polishing and/or Hail Mary prayers, because sometimes they work out quite nicely (not to mention the fact that it’s really all Billy CAN do, when he’s got his purse strings tied up by Arte Moreno).
Instead, I’m increasingly impressed by his ability to spackle up some roster holes with other team’s throwaways, with guys like Jefry Marte or Gregorio Petit or Jhoulys Chacin, for instance. Not All Stars by any stretch of the imagination, but they are pieces nonetheless.
So Andrew Bailey’s signing had some precedent, but we’ve learned to wait and see with these lotto tickets, without getting hopes up whatsoever. Bailey’s role on the team, which is more or less an extended audition for 2017, became more prominent once the Halos’ injury woes crept from the starting rotation into the bullpen.
Huston Street is done for the year, Joe Smith has been traded and Cam Bedrosian, the pretender to the throne, also succumbed to injury. It was time for Bailey to do his thing, and in poetic fashion, his first save came in Oakland.
Here’s a quick history lesson on Andrew Bailey: He came up with the A’s, won Rookie of the Year in 2009, had some good years there, but then got riddled with injuries from 2011 til this year, that pretty much kept him from any meaningful or extended action on the mound. The Phillies had just dropped him when the Halos came a callin’, and I’d be willing to bet that when he got his first save in years that evening in Oakland, it was a gigantic weight off of his shoulders.
Since being thrust into the reliever spot on a depleted Angels bullpen crew, the dude has been quite the promising reclamation project. Now, this is a classic “But small sample size!!” argument, so take it all with a Mike Scioscia-sized grain of salt.
Bailey has 8.1 innings pitched in nine different games, and he’s racked up 5 saves in the process. He’s got an ERA of 3.24, not too desirable there, but he’s got six strikeouts in his time on the bump, good for 6.48 K/9 and he’s walked just one batter. For some reference, Bedrosian had an ERA of 1.12 and 11.38 K/9 (and 3.12 BB/9)...that’s a clear cut advantage of Bailey, of course, but we knew Cam was having a pretty good year.
Huston Street’s pace isn’t quite as impressive, as he had an ugly 6.45 ERA with 5.64 K/9 and 4.84 BB/9. Okay, now we’ve got something. If Andrew Bailey is the real deal, and we assume that he more or less can keep up his current output, then you’ve got a 32 year old who could perhaps give you the same numbers as 33 year old Street, just without the $19 mil owed over the next two seasons.
Cam seems like the next guy up in the ranks of Angels reliever, assuming he can come back next year as strong as 2016, if not stronger. Perhaps they have a cheap option to Street in their ranks already, in the form of Mr. Bailey, a far more cheaper option who you could then move into an 8th inning role, have Bedrosian close and dangle Huston Street to a team that’s looking for a reliever.
A two-headed relief monster, formed by Cam Bedrosian and Andrew Bailey? Camdrew Bailosian? Do you think Bailey’s audition with the Angels is going well enough that we see him in the fold at all next year?
Regardless of what happens, the guy had a tough road there for awhile, but he has finally overcome some scary years of injury and is having bonafide success out there on the mound. It must feel pretty good to be Andrew Bailey right now.