DETROIT - Red Sox closer Andrew Bailey will undergo thumb surgery this week, which means the Red Sox will likely not have him back until the All-Star break.
Closer by committee until then?
This correspondent believes Bobby Valentine should send Daniel Bard back to the bullpen.
Bard was supposed to be Jonathan Papelbon’s heir apparent anyway. Yes, he’s stretched out as a starter and you can make the case that it’s not fair to him to have to go back.
But he’s going back to what would be a glamorous role - not the set-up man, but the pitcher who earns saves and therefore can accrue future dollars in the process.
It would be an easy move to make.
Veteran Aaron Cook doesn’t really need more time in the minors. He’s ready to go right now and he would be easy to make the fifth starter. If Bard returned to the pen, Alfredo Aceves could be given his wish to be a starter.
As it is now, it looks as if Aceves, Mark Melancon and Franklin Morales could share closing opportunities.
While we’re not ruling out the possibility that this could work, it’s a better bet that Bard, given his 98 mph fastball, would be better suited for the role.
The Sox staff is already somewhat in shambles, though all signs are that Josh Beckett will start Saturday’s game vs. the Tigers, even with a thumb issue. But who knows what his injury future is?
The Red Sox have Daisuke Matsuzaka returning sometime in late May which will further bolster the rotation.
A trade could also be possible.
Right now, you won’t find a lot of teams willing to give up their closer, though Chicago White Sox lefty lefty Matt Thornton could probably be a reliever you could project in that role.
This is a terrible situation for the Red Sox. They let Jonathan Papelbon go without making him an offer and the man they replaced him with, Bailey, continues to be snake-bitten with injuries.