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Yankees sign Andrew Bailey to a minor league deal

Feb 22, 2014, 9:53 PM EDT

andrew bailey getty Getty Images

Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors is reporting on Twitter that the Yankees are close to a deal with reliever Andrew Bailey. Exact details of the deal haven’t been disclosed yet.

Update: ESPN’s Buster Olney reports that it is a minor league deal “stacked with incentives”. He adds that the Major League side of the deal is worth $2.5 million and includes an option and a buyout for the 2015 season.

Bailey, 29, spent the last two seasons with the Red Sox. In 2012, he missed the first 116 games of the season after undergoing surgery on his right thumb to repair the ulnar collateral ligament. He returned in August but struggled, posting a 7.04 ERA in 15 1/3 innings through the end of the season. In 2013, he started off strong but went on the disabled list in late April with a strained right biceps. In mid-July, he went on the shelf again, then underwent surgery on the 24th to repair the labrum and capsule in his right shoulder. He won’t be ready for the start of the 2014 regular season, but he is expected to return by mid-season.

Bailey does have a worrying injury history, but when he has been healthy, he has been effective. He won the AL Rookie of the Year award in 2009 with the Athletics, saving 26 games and posting a 1.84 ERA. The Yankees are hoping the right-hander can recapture some of that magic.

  1. cackalackyank - Feb 22, 2014 at 10:15 PM

    This might help in the second half…but its been awhile since he did anything worth talking about. No help out of the gate at all. Dubious insurance policy type deal. I hope that stacking only comes in if he really contributes.

    • mmeyer3387 - Feb 22, 2014 at 11:31 PM

      This is a classic low risk high reward signing. He does have an upside that could become a benefit to the Yankees.

      • quintjs - Feb 23, 2014 at 2:45 AM

        Perhaps we should start calling these deals “Low Cost, High Reward” deals. Because this isn’t low risk. If Bailey was low risk, he would get a major league deal for about $10m. He is getting a cheap minor league deal because there is a good chance he won’t even pitch in the majors.

        Don’t get me wrong, it’s actually a good signing for the Yankees, I quite like it, as it doesn’t hurt to have a guy with closing experience around the team and stashed at AAA if you can.

        But while cheap, Bailey isn’t low risk. The Yankees are going to spend considerable resources (coaching and medical time) to get Bailey healthy and productive, if he doesn’t pay off then you wonder if those resources could have been better ‘spent’.

      • mikhelb - Feb 23, 2014 at 3:56 AM

        @quintjs it is low risk because the NYY will only pay him if he plays in MiLB and will only receive money for the time he plays (prorated). Similarly if he plays in the majors, he’ll only receive money for the time he is not injuried, if he again goes to the DL then the assurance companies will kick in and the NYY won’t pay him (it counts against their payroll but they could very well send him to MiLB if he shows signs of injury and then report send him to the DL, in the end they won’t make that because the Yankees usually are not cheapos and cover the bills and salaries).

        Money in medics? Well they already are getting paid whether there are players who need rehab or not. If he doesn’t get healthier that money was already allocated to the rehab facilities which are not as much and easily get covered in the money MLB will give them by concept of the new TV deals with ESPN/FOX/TBS.

      • quintjs - Feb 23, 2014 at 4:38 AM

        mikhelb – I think you misunderstood my point. I know they Yankees only pay if he makes the squad etc, and I am not sure what insurance the Yankees can get on a guy who has basically always been injured over the last two years.

        My point wasn’t about Bailey’s money, which was low, and even if it wasn’t, the Yankees are hardly hard up for the stuff.

        Put it this way, I am a Red Sox fan. And the team is putting energy into Jackie Bradley, a prospect who has the talent but who probably could do with some help adjusting to the major leagues. They are also spending time with Grady Sizemore, a guy who hasn’t played a major league game in years. If Sizemore gets injured again and Bradley stuggles in the first month, would you not ask the question why was so much energy put into a guy with Sizemore’s track record? And again, I don’t think Sizemore is a bad signing at all, my point was maybe there is more to judging a deal than its price.

        Sizemore could be called low risk, high reward but with his track record how can he be considered low risk? if 90% of the time you are just throwing money away, then how is that low risk? Just because you can afford it doesn’t make it low risk.

        If you were a GM and you could sign a player for $500k and you were told that there was a 95% chance he will be useless, but a 5% chance he would be Kershaw, I think most people would sign the guy, I would too. But 95% of the time, you have wasted $500k (plus time, training, coaches etc which could have been better spent). I think the reward is worth the risk, but it is a high risk/ high reward game, which was to my point of perhaps low cost, high reward might be a better term.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Feb 23, 2014 at 11:00 AM

        It’s low risk because everything under $1M (and even maybe $2-3M) for the Sox and Yanks is pocket change. If the player fails, so what. They wrote off the contribution and go about their business.

  2. uyf1950 - Feb 22, 2014 at 10:27 PM

    On a minor league deal it’s a very low risk potentially high reward signing. I would have preferred Ryan Madson if he was healthy but this signing is just as good. If he comes back in mid May as has been projected this should be good insurance and back up for Robertson.

    • deathmonkey41 - Feb 22, 2014 at 10:31 PM

      Yeah, you can’t really go wrong with a minor league, incentive laden deal. If it works out, great. If not, it’s not crippling.

    • proudlycanadian - Feb 23, 2014 at 5:59 AM

      A nice move by the Yankees, that has upside potential.

    • spudchukar - Feb 23, 2014 at 11:57 AM

      While it is a very good move, the Yankees shouldn’t fool themselves into believing this eradicates their bull pen woes. It is just one more hope, and the last thing the Yankees need is another “if”.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Feb 23, 2014 at 1:45 PM

        If the Yanks get a little creative, they can solve a few issues by doing this (and note, there’s about a negative infinity chance they do, but I really can’t see why not). Assuming they go with a 13 man pitching staff and 12 man lineup* (McCann, Cervelli, Tex, Roberts, Jeter, Ryan, Johnson, Gardner, Ellsbury, Soriano, Ichiro, Beltran), I’d like to see the Yanks do something like this:

        CC/Kuroda/Nova/Tanaka/Pineda as the starters
        Robertson, Kelley, Thornton and Cabral as LOOGYs, Betances/Montgomery as the 7th inning guy

        Leaves three spots

        First big IF, Pineda has to win the starting job, which by all accounts he should. Now, both Pineda and Tanaka will probably be on some sort of innings limitation, one to recover from injury, the other to ease the transition from Japanese baseball to MLB. Assuming 31 starts at 6 IP each, that’s 186 IP.

        Now, instead of constantly burning through the bullpen, why not piggyback those two with guys like Warren and Phelps who have shown the ability to get guys out, but their stuff may play up a little higher knowing they are only pitching 2-3 innings every five days? It also builds in some rest for the bullpen? If they make the same 31 starts and pitch 3 innings each, that’s a valuable 90+ innings. You could also use Betances in this roll who really seemed to shine as he moved to the bullpen.

        Second big IF is that this all but removes the help a long man can provide if something happens to a starter. Would you keep three long men in Warren, Phelps and Ramirez (who can’t stay healthy over a full season as a starter)?

        Keep the starters fresh, keep the bullpen fresh, get some quality innings out of the younger guys…which means it’ll never happen.

        *99.99% sure I’m missing someone

      • spudchukar - Feb 23, 2014 at 2:08 PM

        It makes too much sense to be utilized.

  3. tfbuckfutter - Feb 23, 2014 at 12:37 AM

    Good call.

    A guy with a long injury history coupled with a team who has a long history of having guys who knows guys who can help you come back from injury quicker.

    • mikhelb - Feb 23, 2014 at 3:49 AM

      Angel Presinal? Oh wait no, that’s the MLB-banned-steroid-dealer David OrtĂ­z goes to for his “special milkshakes” in the DR.

      • therooneyskilledwebster - Feb 23, 2014 at 8:24 AM

        I think he meant former Yankee bullpen catcher, batting practice pitcher, assistant strength and conditioning coach, W.S. ring owner and all-around team MVP Brian McNamee.

  4. ltpm3 - Feb 23, 2014 at 2:59 AM

    Funny how the Yankees go after the players the Red Sox release. I hope he gives away as many runs for the Yankees as he did for the Red Sox!!

    • mikhelb - Feb 23, 2014 at 3:46 AM

      It seems that way because the redsox typically acquire far more players of other teams than the Yankees do, and when those are free agents they’ll obviously will be acquired by other teams.

      Last season 17 or 18 out of the 25 men roster in the World Series were not products of the redsox, for example and in the past 3 seasons the sox have acquired how many closers? 5? (Aceves, Melancon, Hanrahan, Bailey, Uehara, Tazawa, Morales?) while the NYY had only 1 pitched not produced by them in a setup or closer role in those seasons and with far better results in those three seasons (just Rafael Soriano, the setup/closer roles = Roberson+Rivera, Roberson+Soriano, Roberson+Rivera and you could even throw in Claiborne there as well from this past season who was having a marvelous rookie season until he got hit towards the end of the season).

      • bbil2012 - Feb 23, 2014 at 8:53 AM

        http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/t/tazawju01.shtml

        Looks to me like in his professional career he’s only played for the Red Sox. Perhaps you meant he was acquired by the Red Sox from his high school team?

      • therooneyskilledwebster - Feb 23, 2014 at 9:00 AM

        Not sure if you’re illiterate or just stupid. Probably both because you’re once again factually wrong. The Sox had 10 of 25 players on their W.S. roster who were home grown. There is no comparison between the two teams when it comes to player development over the last 10+ years. The stars who “Stick” developed in the early 90’s are, other than Jeter, retired. Way to cherry pick the position of closer for your argument. How many All-Star caliber regulars or starting pitchers have your Yanks developed in the last 10 years not named Cano?

      • ltpm3 - Feb 23, 2014 at 9:08 PM

        mikhelb ……… Not sure if you read my post or not…I said PLAYERS, not pitchers. But if you want to talk pitchers, how many did the Yankees have on their pitching staff that were actually brought up thru the Yankee system last year? Not many if any at all. The Red Sox had at least 5 on the staff during the World Series. Of these pitchers, Aceves, Melancon, Bailey, Uehara, Tazawa and Morales, none were signed to be closers and Bailey was hired to be the setup, not the closer. Do to injuries the closer position changed several times.
        I was talking about each time the Red Sox win the World Series (3) since 2004, the Yankees go after any Red Sox player they can, kind of like they think that by duplicating the Red Sox team they will be assured of a World Series win the next year .. what else could it be? Don’t remember any Red Sox team specifically going after several players from one team after that team wins a World Series.

  5. dirtyharry1971 - Feb 23, 2014 at 6:15 AM

    excellent move by the Yanks

  6. barrywhererufrom - Feb 23, 2014 at 7:17 AM

    Depth..

  7. pastabelly - Feb 23, 2014 at 10:16 AM

    The Yankees have a mediocre bullpen. This signing makes sense as they have to take some chances. This has nothing to do with the Red Sox.

  8. keltictim - Feb 23, 2014 at 12:24 PM

    Bailey getting hurt was one of the best things that could have happened to the sox last year. It will be interesting to see just how much money the yanks insurance company will be paying out next season. Jeter, jacoby, Bailey (if he makes the team) the list goes on. I’m willing to bet the ins company spends more than, say the rays entire starting line up.

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