After two of our key pitchers visited a thumb specialist in Cleveland, we know have the official bad news that new closer, Andrew Bailey is out until the All Star break or so after surgery. A few quick thoughts on this:
We did acquire a second pitcher who saved 20 games last year in Mark Melancon, who could inherit this role.
Reportedly, Alfredo Aceves was more than a little unhappy with losing out on a rotation spot. The closer's role could be just the carrot to get him back on board.
Franklin Morales and possibly Padilla could be in the mix, but both are less likely.
For those who are all ready calling for Daniel Bard to move into the closer's job: he has not much more experience at closing than starting. Let him go as a starter and let's see what he can do there before considering to see if he can close.
The starters could actually be a salvation to any thinned out bullpen. Last year our bullpen pitched the second most innings in MLB ( only the Orioles pitched more). In other words, our starters in 2011 pitched too few innings. This must be reversed by our new all Sea Dogs alumni rotation.
Finally on Andrew Bailey. It seems it would have been more fitting last winter if we had traded Josh Reddick for Melancon, and should have traded Jed Lowrie for Bailey. Just sayin'
Oh yes, about the other pitcher who had his thumb examined by the specialist. Josh Beckett was told he spent all of last September with his thumb up his ass, take it the hell out and pitch.