Some expected Andrew Bailey to garner the closer role for the rebuilding Phillies, but the right-hander's stint in Philadelphia turned out to be a disaster. He didn't manage to make the 25-man roster out of spring training, and ended up injuring his hamstring in June once he had reached the big leagues. The results were less than stellar following his return, which led to his release from the Phillies. Bailey found his stride after the Angels signed him to a minor league contract. He impressed at Triple-A Salt Lake, and then was given the chance to close for the Halos after a September callup. The 32-year-old went a perfect 6-for-6 in save chances and posted a solid 2.38 ERA (with all three runs allowed coming in one non-save appearance). His strong September showing has put Bailey in the mix to close for the Angels in 2017, but his declining fastball velocity and inconsistent strikeout ability remain points of concern.
Bailey was ineffective Monday, surrendering four runs on a hit and three walks over two-thirds of an inning. Talk about poor timing. Huston Street's (arm) status for Opening Day is strongly in doubt and the Angels closer role is looking like a two-man battle between Cam Bedrosian (groin) and Bailey. Needless to say, this ugly outing is a huge step backwards for the veteran reliever. Bedrosian appears to be fully recovered from a minor groin injury that held him out of games this spring, and he will likely make his spring training debut later this week. Health issues aside, Bedrosian is considered the more dominant pitcher, making Bailey the underdog in this positional battle.
Bailey is expected to compete with Huston Street and Cam Bedrosian for the closer job this spring, ESPN.com reports. Street has the experience and the big contract while Bedrosian has the best stuff, so Bailey would seem like the third wheel in the competition, but he was very good after signing on with the Angels in August (2.38 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, six saves). Keep in mind too that both Street and Bedrosian have had health concerns recently.
Bailey signed a one-year, $1 million contract with the Angels on Wednesday. He will likely operate out of the seventh inning, acting as a bridge to Huston Street and Cam Bedrosian. There are also additional incentives in the contract, presumably if he ends up closing games. Bailey posted a 2.38 ERA and 8:2 K:BB in 11.1 innings out of the Angels' bullpen in 2016.
Bailey earned his sixth save with a scoreless ninth Monday against Oakland. Bailey is a perfect six-for-six in save opportunities since taking over Sept. 4 and has only given up three runs since then, all in a non-save situation. He has just six strikeouts in 9.1 innings, but has walked just one batter. Given his past experience as closer and his success this September, expect somebody to give him a shot to either close or play a setup role come 2017.
Bailey allowed a hit and struck out a batter en route to collecting his fourth save of the season Wednesday against the Rangers. Bailey allowed three runs in just 0.1 innings in an outing against the Blue Jays last week, but the 32-year-old hasn't allowed a run in any of his other seven appearances with his new club. Bailey will seemingly be the closer in Anaheim for the rest of the season, making him worth an add if he was overlooked due to the chaos in the Angels' bullpen.