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Friday, December 2, 2011
Trade talk: Andrew Bailey

By Richard Durrett

The Winter Meetings are just a few days away and we continue our look at possible free agents or trade pieces the Rangers could look to acquire.

Ken Rosenthal (FoxSports.com) reported this week that the Rangers are interested in reliever Andrew Bailey of the Oakland A's.

Texas has expressed interest in Bailey before and the club doesn't back away from making deals within the AL West, though it can sometimes be harder than dealing outside the division. General manager Jon Daniels said, even after the club signed Joe Nathan, that bullpen remained a high priority. They could still use a left-handed reliever, but with Nathan still not far removed from coming back from elbow surgery, any way to bolster the bullpen makes sense.

Bailey started his 2011 season late because of a strained right forearm. He returned in late May and was 0-4 with a 3.24 ERA in 41 2/3 innings pitched (42 games). He was 24-for-26 on save chances with 41 strikeouts and 12 walks. He had 25 saves and a 1.47 ERA in 2010 and 26 saves and a 1.84 in a career-high 83 1/3 innings in 2009, when he won Rookie of the Year honors in the AL. Opponents hit just .218 off Bailey last year and in 2010 on balls in play, opponents averaged just .237.

Bailey would give the club another strong late-inning arm in a bullpen that was instrumental in getting the Rangers to the World Series. Yes, that bullpen seemed to run out of gas in the Fall Classic. But the Rangers aren't there without a strong relief corps in the ALCS. So Texas understands the importance of investing in the back part of the game.

Bailey is also intriguing because he's under team control for three more seasons as he's arbitration eligible this offseason. That means he'll get a nice raise, but the Rangers wouldn't simply be trading for a player that could help them in 2012. He could help them beyond that. The question, as always, will be what the A's are seeking -- how much major-league ready talent do that want and what kind of prospects would have to be included. But there's no doubt Bailey makes the bullpen stronger and with a rotation that is still young, that's critical to success in 2012.

What are you willing to give up to get Bailey?