Originally posted on Ted's Army  |  Last updated 12/29/11



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While the trade for closer Andrew Bailey helped shore up the Red Sox bullpen, it did little to help clear up the team’s outfield mix . .  even with the acquisition of Ryan Sweeney in the deal.

Sweeney, like Reddick, is a left-handed hitter who is seen by many as a fourth, or even fifth, outfielder rather than a starter.

He appeared in 108 games overall in 2011 and played all three outfield positions -- 41 games in left, 34 in center and 23 in right. In 264 at-bats, he hit .265 with 1 home run, 25 RBI, a .346 OBP, and .341 slugging percentage.

Sweeney, who turns 27 in February, was a second-round pick by the White Sox out of Xavier High School in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, in 2003. He made his big-league debut Sept. 1, 2006. He was traded by Chicago to Oakland in January 2008 with Fautino De Los Santos and Gio Gonzalez for Nick Swisher. In 2009, he saw the most playing time of his six-season career, appearing in 134 games (121 starts), with 484 at-bats, playing all three outfield positions, batting .293,  with a career-high 6 home runs, 53 RBI, and .755 OPS..

CSNNE: Trade doesn't clear up outfield situation

It's sad to see Reddick go. It was fun watching him this season and was looking forward to see him continue to develop and get more playing time in right next season. It sucks seeing him go but this trade was essential to put together the back end of the bullpen. It prevents the Sox for using the dreaded words "closer by commitee" again.

Ryan Sweeney is a quality defensive outfielder, he hasn't made an error the past two seasons, but he's another left handed hitter that's joining a team that's already lefty heavy. Darnell McDonald is the only righty we have but he hit .189 (!!!) against right handers last season.

Maureen Mullen brought up Mike Aviles, who spent time in Puerto Rico to play the outfield, and prospect Che-Hsuan Lin as possibilities to help bring some balance into the lineup. She also mentioned that Ryan Kalish is still recovering from neck surgery and isn't being considered for the start of the year. So the answer doesn't appear to be in house.

The free agents are slim picking but there are some short term answers. Ryan Ludwick is still available and although he hasn't looked nowhere near as good as he did in 2008 when he was protected by the almighty Albert Pujols, but with a quality lineup that the Sox have, it's not a bad idea to take a shot with him for one year. Ryan Spilborghs is another righty who had a tough 2011 season (.210/3/22 in 223 PAs) but falls under the same category of "cheap right handed batter".  It's not the ideal group of guys that you'd want but the Sox are being meticulous with every move they make.

So what will the Sox do? Best bet: sign Ludwick to a 1 year/ $2.5 million deal and platoon him with Sweeney until Kalish is fully healthy and gets some reps in AAA. Then they call him up and rotate between them and someone will come up with a clever name for the three Ryan's.

Rest of the Links: Globe:Sox get their closer|Trade Reddick to A's|Bailey a "top quality closer"|Herald:Sox trade for A's closer Bailey|CSNNE:Bailey fills big hole, creates options for Sox|Trade doesn't clear up Sox outfield situation|WEEI:Bailey insists he's healthy and strong|Getting their thoughts for Bailey

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