Andrew Bailey Deserves to Be Closer Upon Return Even Given Alfredo Aceves’ Success for Red Sox

Andrew Bailey Deserves to Be Closer Upon Return Even Given Alfredo Aceves' Success for Red SoxThe Red Sox bullpen has been a work in progress all season, but Bobby Valentine's boys appear to have finally settled into some firm relief roles.

Alfredo Aceves is the head of the pack, as he's saved 15 games for the Sox this season and has been one of the best pitchers on the roster since overcoming his early-season struggles.

Andrew Bailey's imminent return is making things awfully interesting, though. Bailey has been working hard to make it back to the Boston 'pen, and with his return it would certainly complicate the current bullpen structure.

NESN's Don Orsillo took a crack at answering some reader questions that concerned the bullpen, among a number of other topics.

Do you think with Jacoby Ellsbury, Carl Crawford and Cody Ross back, the Red Sox could prove themselves as an elite team in Major League Baseball?
–Aidan Breen, Salem

Yes. I think of they can get all three back you have what your original plan was and the depth that you will need to be an elite team. It is hard to imagine but the plan was Carl Crawford in left, Jacoby Ellsbury in center and a platoon of Cody Ross and Ryan Sweeney in right. That would be a very solid combination, and it's one we've yet to see in 2012. The pitching will still be a concern but your lineup has a lot more thump in it if everybody is healthy and where they are supposed to be.

When do you think the Sox will build a new ballpark?
–Brian Butler

Not any time soon. I think the previous problems, besides some of the seats and obstructed views, were all taken care of. Amenities that the players and fans needed though a series of offseason renovations really beginning in 2002 have all been completed. New bathrooms and wider concourses as well as many new clubhouse facilities for the players bringing everything up to date. It is clear now that all of this has been done with the idea that the team plans to stay at Fenway for years to come. I, for one, am glad. I miss the old Garden and cannot imagine a new Fenway.

What's the best Triple-A stadium you ever called a game in?
–David Wilbur

In five years in Pawtucket I have seen my share of Triple-A facilities. I would have to say that during my time there Dunn Tire Park in Buffalo, N.Y., was pretty big league, for its time. I was also a fan of Lackawanna County Stadium in Scranton, Pa. Lastly, is a park that sort of resembles the San Francisco Giants park in the big leagues. The Norfolk Tides' home stadium is right on the water, similar to AT&T Park. All of these parks are good for different reasons. 

I was doing some research about you, and it said you worked in Watertown, N.Y., at one time. Was that for the Watertown Pirates? I am originally from Watertown. Years later, my son was going through the Pirates cards and realized Tim Wakefield played for them back then, only he was a first baseman.
–Evelyn Pettis, Dover, N.H.

My first professional radio broadcast was in Watertown, N.Y. I was a visitor, though. My first professional job out of Northeastern University was as the radio voice of the Pittsfield Mets of the New York-Penn League and we opened on the road in June of 1991 in Watertown. They were affiliated with the Indians at that time. So yes, I worked there, but I was affiliated with the Mets. 

What is Andrew Bailey’s status? What will the Red Sox do with their bullpen when he returns?
–Danny J.

I may be alone in this thinking, but I think Andrew Bailey is the closer. It is what he does and what you got him for. I know Alfredo Aceves has done well. However, we have seen that whatever role you put Alfredo in he succeeds.

We know Bailey, when healthy, is a frontline closer so I would put Alfredo in the eighth inning and place Bailey in the ninth. Jerry Remy and I had this discussion last week during a game and Jerry thought it should be the other way around. I am not sure how the Red Sox are thinking, but Bailey needs to be healthy first.