The Boston Red Sox filled the hole left in their bullpen by the departure of Jonathan Papelbon, acquiring right-handed reliever Andrew Bailey from the Oakland Athletics as part of a five-player trade.
The Red Sox also will get outfielder Ryan Sweeney, and the A’s will receive outfielder Josh Reddick and minor leaguers Raul Alcantara, a right-handed pitcher, and first baseman Miles Head.
“Andrew’s a proven, top-quality closer in the American League,” Boston General Manager Ben Cherington said in a conference call last night with reporters. “He’s converted a very high percentage of his opportunities.”
Bailey, 27, a two-time All-Star, had 75 saves in his three seasons with Oakland. Bailey converted 24 of his 26 save opportunities in 2011, a 92.3 percent success rate that was second highest in the American League.
Bailey is the third All-Star pitcher traded away by the A’s this month. Oakland sent starter Trevor Cahill to the Arizona Diamondbacks on Dec. 9 and dealt starter Gio Gonzalez to the Washington Nationals on Dec. 23.
“It was a combination of getting back a major league-ready position player and prospects who we really like that made this a good option for us,” said David Forst, Oakland’s assistant general manager.
The acquisition of Bailey probably means the Red Sox will move Daniel Bard into the starting rotation. Bard has made 192 appearances in his three seasons with Boston, all in relief.
“Bard is going to prepare for spring training as a starter and we want to give him every chance to do that,” Cherington said. “We believe he can do it.”
Papelbon, 31, a four-time All-Star, had 219 saves in the past seven seasons for the Red Sox before moving as a free agent to the Philadelphia Phillies in November.
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