In a seemingly low-key tweet on Thursday, ESPN’s Buster Olney mentioned that the two teams came down to choosing between shortstop Mike Aviles and closer Andrew Bailey.
Blue Jays/Red Sox Farrell compensation talks came down to two players: Mike Aviles or Andrew Bailey. Aviles gives TOR flexibility w/Escobar.
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) October 25, 2012
Bailey’s mention in the deal is an interesting one. The bullpen is actually a position where the Blue Jays will not need to look for much help in the offseason, especially if Darren Oliver returns. Bailey would have been a redundant option, with Casey Janssen and Sergio Santos expected to anchor the pen and Steve Delabar, Aaron Loup, Brad Lincoln already penciled in.
It is also interesting to see how quickly the Red Sox were ready to give up on Andrew Bailey. Despite an injury-plaqed and ineffective season, this is still the closer that Boston gave up Josh Reddick, Miles Head, and Raul Alcantara for. That would have put a significantly different twist on the value exchanged for a manager.
As Olney points out, the addition of Aviles was the smarter move. It gives the Blue Jays a second baseman if they choose to stand pat on that there and work on other needs. It also gives Toronto the ability to move Yunel Escobar without having to rush Adeiny Hechavarria if they choose. Like their sudden surplus of catching, the Blue Jays are suddenly dealing from a position of strength at shortstop, which will allow them to address other needs through trades without necessarily having to raid their pitching riches on the farm.
In other words, the Jays made the better choice, both for the team and for their offseason path.