The Philadelphia Phillies have signed free agent reliever Andrew Bailey to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.
Bailey is a local product, born in Voorhees, New Jersey and a product of Paul VI High School in Haddonfield, New Jersey. He was the 6th round choice of the Oakland Athletics in the 2006 MLB Amateur Draft out of Wagner College on Staten Island, New York.
Bailey made the A’s roster for Opening Day in 2009, and became an immediate phenom. For his season that included a 6-3 record, 26 Saves, a 1.84 ERA, a 0.876 WHIP, a 91/24 K:BB ratio, and just 49 hits allowed in 83.1 innings pitched, Bailey was named the American League Rookie of the Year.
Bailey also made the American League All-Star Team in that rookie campaign, an honor that he repeated in 2010 when he saved 25 games for the A’s with a 1.47 ERA, 0.959 WHIP, a 42/13 K:BB ratio, and just 34 hits allowed in 49 innings.
While Bailey’s performance slipped slightly for the 2011 season, he was still very effective, saving another 24 games. At the end of December in 2011, Bailey and Ryan Sweeney were traded by the Athletics to the Boston Red Sox in exchange for Josh Reddick and two prospects.
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In Boston, Bailey experienced two injury-marred seasons. In 2012, reconstructive surgery on his right thumb caused him to miss the first half of the season. Then in 2013, Bailey was shut down in mid-July by a shoulder injury.
That injury turned out to be a torn capsule and damaged labrum in Bailey’s throwing arm, which required season-ending surgery. The Red Sox released him following the season, obviously feeling that a full recovery was a long shot.
A free agent, Bailey signed with the New York Yankees, but was unable to make it back to the mound. He re-signed with the Yanks for 2015, and began to throw finally, rising through four levels of their minor league system, and receiving a big league promotion in September.
Though Bailey had a 5.19 ERA in 10 appearances back in September, he allowed runs in just four of those, and his ERA was blown up by one particularly bad outing in which he allowed three earned runs to the Blue Jays. He had a 6/5 K:BB ratio in 8.2 innings during those 10 games.
The Yankees declined his option in early November, making him again a free agent. He will go to Clearwater in February as a 31-year old with experience over parts of six big league seasons. It is an opportunity, for him to re-establish his career, and for the Phillies to possibly pick up an experienced arm for their bullpen on the cheap.