The Ballad of Andrew Bailey: Will the harvest come in?

Mugsy's Jock

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But every time I see this thread bumped I get flashbacks to

View attachment 73913
I first started collecting baseball cards when I was 7, in 1968.

My brother is 2 years older than me, so in 1968 he was old enough to love torturing me. He somehow persuaded me to trade all my best cards for a Bob Bailey, "Slugger Bob Bailey". Bailey, he explained to me, had to be amazing because he was traded for Maury Wills. Somehow, that took root in my seven-year-old brain.

Immediately after making the trade, he laughed at me and told me how much he ripped me off. And I cried for days.

So thanks for reminding me about that.
 

Al Zarilla

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I first started collecting baseball cards when I was 7, in 1968.

My brother is 2 years older than me, so in 1968 he was old enough to love torturing me. He somehow persuaded me to trade all my best cards for a Bob Bailey, "Slugger Bob Bailey". Bailey, he explained to me, had to be amazing because he was traded for Maury Wills. Somehow, that took root in my seven-year-old brain.

Immediately after making the trade, he laughed at me and told me how much he ripped me off. And I cried for days.

So thanks for reminding me about that.
Dude, I hope there were no Yastrzemskis, or Rices or Lynns among your best cards. He never made good and traded back (reversed the trade)?
 

Hee Sox Choi

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Mugsy should make a T-shirt with that Slugger Bob Bailey card on it, wear it to Thanksgiving and report back to us.
 

jon abbey

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Bailey is currently in Japan ???
Yamamoto was in California a few days ago, playing golf with Lars Nootbaar (who he knows from the Japanese WBC team, I don't think STL is one of his top suitors), so not sure Bailey in Japan does much good in that direction at this point.
 

JM3

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Seems like another former Driveline pitching guy is joining the org.

View: https://twitter.com/MiggySucio/status/1726998294621274568

Head Coach Ave Maria University
@GyreneBaseball
l Pitching Coach St. Cloud Rox Northwoods
@StCloudRox
l Former
@WhiteSox
@Cobra_Baseball
@DrivelineBB

Michael McCormick is in his fourth season with the Ave Maria University baseball program, and his third as head coach. He served as the program's interim head coach in 2021 before earning the full-time job the following summer. Prior to becoming the head coach, he served as the pitching coach during the shortened covid season.
Prior to his arrival at Ave Maria, McCormick was a pitching trainer at the Driveline facility in the state of Washington. While at Driveline, he worked with high school, collegiate, and professional pitchers. During his time there, McCormick was able to learn under the likes of Matt Daniels, Sam Briend, Rob Hill, Eric Jagers, Casey Jacobson, Dan Moskos, and more.
https://avemariagyrenes.com/sports/baseball/roster/coaches/michael-mccormick/656
 

SouthernBoSox

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There is a really legitimate chance this is as impactful and positive of a non manager hire across baseball this year.
 

Big Papi's Mango Salsa

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The only logical conclusion from all this is a 2025 season where Cora moves into the front office, David Ross becomes the manager, Dustin Pedroia the hitting coach and Jacoby Ellsbury the team medical advisor to explain that re-signing Chris Sale to another contract extension makes sense because random injuries shouldn't be expected.

In all seriousness, Bailey seems like a really good hire. I do find it interesting (and picture Bailey pulling his hair out) going from one team that has had simply atrocious defense in 3 of the past 4 seasons to another team that has had simply atrocious defense in 3 of the past 4 seasons.
 

Green Monster

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Yamamoto was in California a few days ago, playing golf with Lars Nootbaar (who he knows from the Japanese WBC team, I don't think STL is one of his top suitors), so not sure Bailey in Japan does much good in that direction at this point.
It was a joke.., I guess I should have included an lol
 

chawson

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I wonder if Bailey’s presence attracts some of the pitchers he’s worked with/recuperated in San Francisco. Junis, Manaea, Wood, Brebbia and Alexander, all FA from last year’s team, are all interesting in their own ways. (Junis especially, I think.)

There’s of course Gausman and Rodón, but one of Bailey’s most fascinating rehabilitations is Shelby Miller. He’d been thoroughly useless for six seasons before posting 7 garbage time September innings in San Francisco in 2022. The Dodgers gave him a guaranteed major league contract on the strength of those, and he just turned in a solid year for them.
 

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This made me realize that I honestly don’t know whether the pitching coach is traditionally hired by the manager rather than the front office. Is that the usual method, or does the GM typically make these hires?
I've always assumed that the Manager picks and manages his assistants. It's likely that I've always been wrong about this.
 

Van Everyman

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I think it depends, usually the manager will have soms level of input on his staff. IIRC, Bobby Valentine was not and then didn’t speak to his pitching coach for a few months during the season.
That’s kind of ironic because one of the few things Valentine did very well in 2012 was manage the bullpen.
 

jon abbey

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I think that one reason for people being unclear on this is that it has seemingly changed a lot even in the past 10-15 years. I'm sure Earl Weaver chose his own coaches and maybe minor league managers did too, but these days it makes much more sense to try to mesh the minor league teams with the MLB team so that each level is just the next level but the team philosophy/preparation/approach/whatever is generally similar, so it makes a lot more sense for the front office to hire, probably with input from the manager at least but not his decision.
 

BringBackMo

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I think that makes a lot of sense. I recall a line in Moneyball about how organizations were waking up to the idea that it was foolish to delegate decision-making about things with an outsize effect on wins and losses to the manager, a position that I believe was described as “middle management.” Assuming I’m not mis-remembering, it makes sense that the approach has filtered down to the coaching staff as well.
 

JM3

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A few more Bailey quotes (including the fact that he reached out to O'Halloran & not Cora when he wanted to be considered for the job, even before they hired his friend Breslow):

“I was definitely interested in Boston prior to Craig being hired and the interview process,” Bailey said. “That’s the reason I reached out super early to (executive vice president Brian O’Halloran) and a couple of my contacts over there and told them where I was professionally and personally. I live just about two hours away from Boston. So the ability to get back home really whenever I want, I can. And that means the world to my kids and my wife and myself and throughout this process.”
“As coaches, we’re consultants for the player,” Bailey said. “We’re not hiding the ball, hiding any information. We give them the facts. We want them to know how the industry values them. We want to maximize their earning potential, because if we are able to maximize performance and earning potential, we in turn are creating value for the organization and winning ballgames.”
“Each and every player needs to be coached just a little differently,” he said. “And that’s why I feel strongly that, for me, I don’t need to be that guy all the time that is managing or coaching or delivering the information. Each staff member, from the bullpen catchers to our analysts to our pitching assistants to the manager, we all have unique relationships with every player. We all interact with players differently. We definitely want to support them as best as possible.”
“There’s a lot of special arms on this team,” Bailey said. “And I think we hold ourselves accountable. We hold ourselves to high standards, and we’ll be right where we need to be.”
https://theathletic.com/5082130/2023/11/22/andrew-bailey-red-sox-pitching-coach/
 

BeantownIdaho

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With Breslow and Bailey I feel way better about the decisions that will be made about the pitching staff. At least now if there is a project pitcher signed, I know that the staff has the ability, knowledge and skills to make a good decision. When we go hard or don't go hard after a pitcher, at least now I trust there was due diligence and good reasoning behind the decision. Excellent off-season for staff.
 

John Marzano Olympic Hero

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I think that makes a lot of sense. I recall a line in Moneyball about how organizations were waking up to the idea that it was foolish to delegate decision-making about things with an outsize effect on wins and losses to the manager, a position that I believe was described as “middle management.” Assuming I’m not mis-remembering, it makes sense that the approach has filtered down to the coaching staff as well.
From what I understand, back in the day pitching coaches were normally a manager’s lieutenant, drinking buddy or both. But like you said, at some point in the last 20 years front offices realized that a gin-soaked dude telling a pitcher to put “a little pepper” on the ball might not be the best way to protect their most valuable investments.

The manager still needs a confidant, a guy that players can go to if they’re uncomfortable talking to the big guy and a drinking buddy. That’s what bench coaches do. And it’s no real coincidence that bench coaches started popping up around the time that pitching coach hirings were taken out of the manager’s hands.

Though I think that even this hiring is moving away from the discretion of the manager. As im not sure how close Aaron Boone is to Brad Ausmus and whether Boone chose him to be his new bench coach or whether it was a Yankee FO decision.

Though I have to imagine that most of these dudes know each other pretty well and unless there’s some real animosity, can probably get along with each other. Though I bet a manager gets real paranoid if the FO hires a youngish bench coach with managerial experience. I’m not sure how much drinkin I’d do with that guy.
 

BringBackMo

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Yeah, I think you're right. Bailey and Cora may not be drinking buddies, but it's clear they know each other, and Bailey went out of his way in that interview to talk about how much he and Cora click. Here's hoping that's true....
 

Yo La Tengo

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Thinking about the Bello contract and injury risk for pitchers of all ages. There seems to be a general agreement that pitchers maximizing their velocity and spin rates has led to more injuries and there is a good article in the Athletic today with some numbers:

As teams increased their emphasis on velocity and stuff, injury-list placements for pitchers rose from 241 in 2010 to 552 in 2021 before decreasing slightly each of the past two seasons, according to a Major League Baseball spokesperson. The days pitchers spent on the IL more than doubled over a slightly longer span.
A hyperfocus on performance often begins at the youth level. Many pitchers experience problems before ever reaching the majors. The number of pitchers drafted in the top 10 rounds with a history of elbow reconstruction rose from six between 2011 and 2013 to 24 between 2021 and 2023, the league spokesperson said.
https://theathletic.com/5325032/2024/03/08/elbow-injuries-mlb-pitchers/

It will be interesting to see how Bailey and Breslow deal with this tension between maximizing effort/performance and longevity.


Semi-related, there was another good article about the Rays philosophy on throwing strikes:

Every Rays pitcher seems to cite the same 95-percent statistic: A first-pitch quality strike, they say, yields a positive result 95 times out of 100. Ideally, it’s a quick out, but every take, swing and miss, or foul ball puts the pitcher in control of that at-bat. Yes, five percent of the time, that first pitch gets hammered, but the Rays love those odds and will live with the outliers. Pitchers who give up first-pitch homers are treated almost as sacrificial lambs because it shouldn’t happen more than once or twice a series.
. . .
The average major-league hitter had a .266 on-base percentage after falling behind 0-1 last year. That’s Martín Maldonado territory. After getting ahead 1-0, that same average major-league hitter had a .380 on-base percentage. That’s Mookie Betts.
https://theathletic.com/5318763/2024/03/06/tampa-bay-rays-pitcher-development/

Last year, the Sox were 10th in MLB for first pitch strike percentage at 62.6%. Seattle was first at 64.5% with the Giants second. I think we'll be hearing a lot more about this from Bailey: “Strikes are everything. Stuff in-zone plays. Limiting walks, being aggressive and ahead in counts.”
 

SirPsychoSquints

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As teams increased their emphasis on velocity and stuff, injury-list placements for pitchers rose from 241 in 2010 to 552 in 2021 before decreasing slightly each of the past two seasons, according to a Major League Baseball spokesperson. The days pitchers spent on the IL more than doubled over a slightly longer span.
A hyperfocus on performance often begins at the youth level. Many pitchers experience problems before ever reaching the majors. The number of pitchers drafted in the top 10 rounds with a history of elbow reconstruction rose from six between 2011 and 2013 to 24 between 2021 and 2023, the league spokesperson said.
https://theathletic.com/5325032/2024/03/08/elbow-injuries-mlb-pitchers/
Did they think about how the number of pitchers who saw time in the majors increased from 635 to 909 over that same timeframe? Granted, that 274 increase is pretty close to the 311 pitcher increase in how many pitchers saw the IL - but are we supposed to infer that teams have not intentionally shuttled more pitchers in and out of their bullpen, and the increase is solely due to pitcher injuries? Is it also possible that teams have just used the IL more in order to facilitate the AAA shuttle? After all, Eppler was suspended for this, and the chatter has been that he was made an example of for a widespread issue.

https://stathead.com/tiny/sgN3D

Edit: Position player pitching is also a factor in the above increase, but I don't know how to find numbers for each year.
 
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Yo La Tengo

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Here are the pitchers on the Sox who were better than 64.5% for first pitch strikes:


7916079161

Martin's 76.4% was the second highest number in the entire league for anyone with over 50 innings pitched and Whitlock was third.

Here's the list for starters:

7916279165

Michael Lorenzen, who I tried to hype up a bit earlier, is 15th on this list with 66.7%.
 

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HfxBob

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Did they think about how the number of pitchers who saw time in the majors increased from 635 to 909 over that same timeframe? Granted, that 274 increase is pretty close to the 311 pitcher increase in how many pitchers saw the IL - but are we supposed to infer that teams have not intentionally shuttled more pitchers in and out of their bullpen, and the increase is solely due to pitcher injuries? Is it also possible that teams have just used the IL more in order to facilitate the AAA shuttle? After all, Eppler was suspended for this, and the chatter has been that he was made an example of for a widespread issue.

https://stathead.com/tiny/sgN3D
Maybe they should confine the data to documented surgeries and medical procedures.
 

Yo La Tengo

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Did they think about how the number of pitchers who saw time in the majors increased from 635 to 909 over that same timeframe? Granted, that 274 increase is pretty close to the 311 pitcher increase in how many pitchers saw the IL - but are we supposed to infer that teams have not intentionally shuttled more pitchers in and out of their bullpen, and the increase is solely due to pitcher injuries? Is it also possible that teams have just used the IL more in order to facilitate the AAA shuttle? After all, Eppler was suspended for this, and the chatter has been that he was made an example of for a widespread issue.

https://stathead.com/tiny/sgN3D
I'm not sure what they thought about, but is it also possible that the reason for seeing so many new pitchers in MLB, 635 to 909 based on your post, is because of needing to replace pitchers due to injury? There may be roster manipulation going on, but I don't think that is the whole story.
 

bernie carb 33

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Getting Andrew Bailey is a win-win for the Sox. Knowing that the MFY valued Bailey as good enough to be offered a job as their bench coach is a double win in securing his contract. The Sox pitching is not much in big quality MLB depth, so any incremental advantage that Andrew can instruct our pitching staff, will be a good win as well.
 

allmanbro

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Did they think about how the number of pitchers who saw time in the majors increased from 635 to 909 over that same timeframe? Granted, that 274 increase is pretty close to the 311 pitcher increase in how many pitchers saw the IL - but are we supposed to infer that teams have not intentionally shuttled more pitchers in and out of their bullpen, and the increase is solely due to pitcher injuries? Is it also possible that teams have just used the IL more in order to facilitate the AAA shuttle? After all, Eppler was suspended for this, and the chatter has been that he was made an example of for a widespread issue.
It also seems like there is a confound in that draft statistic if teams are more willing now to spend that draft capital on a player they simply wouldn't have drafted in previous years due to the injury. The number drafted in the top 10 can increase even if the number in the pool is basically the same.
 

HfxBob

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I'm not sure what they thought about, but is it also possible that the reason for seeing so many new pitchers in MLB, 635 to 909 based on your post, is because of needing to replace pitchers due to injury? There may be roster manipulation going on, but I don't think that is the whole story.
I think someone should do a specific analysis on the Rays. Some say they have an abnormally high rate of pitcher injuries, but I haven't seen actual data on it.
 

SouthernBoSox

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Getting Andrew Bailey is a win-win for the Sox. Knowing that the MFY valued Bailey as good enough to be offered a job as their bench coach is a double win in securing his contract. The Sox pitching is not much in big quality MLB depth, so any incremental advantage that Andrew can instruct our pitching staff, will be a good win as well.
I’ll be very surprised if Bailey isn’t the next manager of the Red Sox.
 

4 6 3 DP

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Is it possible Bailey could turn some of our marginal starters into better starters? Maybe the front office is making the assumption that Bailey will unlock the potential of the guys we already have, thus the inaction on acquiring new starters. Maybe this is just wishful thinking but it will be interesting to see how Bailey affects our pitchers.
Cross posting from another thread.

I have been thinking this for some time but felt like this was a good time to raise it. This idea that Bailey and Breslow have some magic ability to transform multiple pitchers from mediocrity into say above average - if they could really do that in an actual measurable way - they'd get paid 10 million plus a year easily, if not more. Take say a 80 million pitching staff and make it perform like a 120 million staff - the bidding wars that would exist for that specific ability would be intense.

My guess is that Bailey is an elite pitching coach and that he will have substantial success in his role. Which is all incremental and around the edges. If the industry thought he could make chicken salad out of chicken excrement he'd have 30 teams throwing insane money at him.
 

Max Power

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Thinking about the Bello contract and injury risk for pitchers of all ages. There seems to be a general agreement that pitchers maximizing their velocity and spin rates has led to more injuries and there is a good article in the Athletic today with some numbers:

As teams increased their emphasis on velocity and stuff, injury-list placements for pitchers rose from 241 in 2010 to 552 in 2021 before decreasing slightly each of the past two seasons, according to a Major League Baseball spokesperson. The days pitchers spent on the IL more than doubled over a slightly longer span.
A hyperfocus on performance often begins at the youth level. Many pitchers experience problems before ever reaching the majors. The number of pitchers drafted in the top 10 rounds with a history of elbow reconstruction rose from six between 2011 and 2013 to 24 between 2021 and 2023, the league spokesperson said.
https://theathletic.com/5325032/2024/03/08/elbow-injuries-mlb-pitchers/

It will be interesting to see how Bailey and Breslow deal with this tension between maximizing effort/performance and longevity.
They won't. Teams have little incentive to keep young pitchers healthy if they can keep churning through new ones. The average pitcher never even makes it to arbitration before his career ends these days. If throwing harder and spinning it more make them more effective, they'll let the kids blow their arms out on league-minimum contracts and move onto the next one.

Pitch limits, innings limits, and larger rosters were put in place to keep pitchers healthy, but they've had the exact opposite result. Teams have taken advantage of those measures to have their pitchers throw as hard as they can, knowing someone is always behind them as soon as their performance starts to dip. The league has to completely reverse course and limit the number of pitchers on the MLB roster. It will force starters and relievers to throw more and pace themselves when they do. I can't think of any other solution. It's not like teams are going to unilaterally back out of the velocity and spin rate arms war.
 

SirPsychoSquints

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They won't. Teams have little incentive to keep young pitchers healthy if they can keep churning through new ones. The average pitcher never even makes it to arbitration before his career ends these days. If throwing harder and spinning it more make them more effective, they'll let the kids blow their arms out on league-minimum contracts and move onto the next one.

Pitch limits, innings limits, and larger rosters were put in place to keep pitchers healthy, but they've had the exact opposite result. Teams have taken advantage of those measures to have their pitchers throw as hard as they can, knowing someone is always behind them as soon as their performance starts to dip. The league has to completely reverse course and limit the number of pitchers on the MLB roster. It will force starters and relievers to throw more and pace themselves when they do. I can't think of any other solution. It's not like teams are going to unilaterally back out of the velocity and spin rate arms war.
Re: the bolded - have they ever? The highest average age for a pitcher in the majors was during WWII, approaching 30. Outside of that, 2005 was the highest average age (29.2), followed by 52/53, 33, 2004, and 2023!, whose average age of a pitcher was 11th highest in history at 28.9.

Unless we think pitchers are also debuting older than ever?

https://www.baseball-reference.com/leagues/majors/pitch.shtml

Edit: For reference, all the youngest average ages were in the 1800s, followed by the first 21 years of the 1900s, followed by 1969-1971. The youngest year after 1990 was 1991 with 28.3 average age, around the 90th-100th youngest year in history.
 

Yo La Tengo

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My specific thought was about Bello, since there will be even more incentive to keep him healthy/productive through the duration of this new contract.

Teams have little incentive to keep young pitchers healthy if they can keep churning through new ones. The average pitcher never even makes it to arbitration before his career ends these days.
From that Athletic article, anecdotally: "the average major-league career is now under three years for all players and just under 2.7 for pitchers."

But teams have every incentive to keep young pitchers healthy at least through arbitration because those players are the most cost effective.
 

SirPsychoSquints

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My specific thought was about Bello, since there will be even more incentive to keep him healthy/productive through the duration of this new contract.



From that Athletic article, anecdotally: "the average major-league career is now under three years for all players and just under 2.7 for pitchers."
Does it have a reference for if that's higher or lower than in the past?