One area of focus for the Boston Red Sox this offseason has been pitching, and while the club may not have made a huge splash in the starting rotation, the bullpen when rested, was one of the best in Major League Baseball last season.

Adding Andrew Bailey as the team’s new pitching coach in mid-November was one step in the process after the Red Sox fired Dave Bush in early October.

Bailey’s experience is different than Bush’s given he pitched in Boston and understands what it means to play for the Red Sox.

“I know what it’s like to blow a save in Boston,” Bailey told MLB Insider Ian Browne in November. “I know what it’s like to be a player who has success as well in periods of time. We won the World Series, and we finished last place (in Boston). I experienced both of those.”

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The former closer finished his eight-year MLB career posting a 3.12 ERA in 274 1/3 innings with 276 strikeouts and 95 saves. Bailey played two seasons in Boston before the right-hander suffered a season-ending shoulder injury in July 2013.

Given his history as a closer in Boston, Bailey shed some light on his philosophy on the role now that he has returned to Boston on the coaching side, according to MassLive’s Sean McAdam.

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“I think that having a bonafide closer is awesome,” Bailey said on MassLive’s “Fenway Rundown,” according to McAdam. “Someone that you can count on to go out there and shut the door and the game’s won.”

Bailey said that having a closer doesn’t necessarily mean that their role is designated solely for the ninth inning.

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“I also think about that closer’s teammates and setting them up for success,” Bailey continued. “We know left-on-left is the toughest matchup in baseball. Why would you deploy a righthander through there just because he’s tabbed the seventh inning guy or the eighth inning guy when it’s probably not setting him up for success, and it probably sets up his teammate for success better and, ultimately, the team?”

Bailey added: “At the end of the day, we need to win every single game and we’re going to put our guys in positions to succeed every single night.”

So what does that mean for current Red Sox closer Kenley Jansen, who finished the 2023 season posting a 3.63 ERA over 44 2/3 innings pitched with 52 strikeouts and 29 saves?

“Generally speaking, no, I don’t think that you need to have a quote, unquote closer,” Bailey explained. “… Obviously, here we have Kenley Jansen. So it’s a little bit different. In actuality, there’s a lot of value to (having a designed closer).

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“And I’m sure as a manager, it’s easy to get through eight and just be like, I got my guy down here. It’s a luxury, but I also think that there’s a pathway to win games without one. But having Kenley, it’s nice to have a reliable piece back there that the game’s in good hands. I’ve never managed a game, but I can imagine that’s a nice cherry on top.”

Bailey added that it was important to let the Red Sox relievers know about their roles and potential usage so they aren’t caught off guard in game situations.

“I pride myself on communication. I over-communicate it sometimes,” Bailey said, “But, I definitely want our guys to know the parts of the game and the parts or the pockets of the lineup that we are forecasting to have them come into the game or attack.”

The New Jersey native said as well as he communicates, things may not always happen according to script because it is a live sport after all, but he will still have discussions with the pitching staff as things unfold.

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It’s uncertain if Bailey and the Red Sox use Jansen in the traditional closer role or if his role in Boston will evolve with the rest of the team.

Featured image via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images