In December 2011, the Red Sox traded three young players, including Josh Reddick who went on to have a stellar season, to the A's to acquire Andrew Bailey to be their new closer, after the loss of Jonathan Papelbon to the Phillies in free agency.



But, Bailey was hurt at the end of spring training in an odd play while attempting to cover first base and underwent surgery on his right thumb on April 4, the day before Opening Day. Bailey didn't make his season debut until Aug. 14, and struggled for the remainder of the season. In 19 games, spanning 15 1/3 innings, he posted a record of 1-1 with a 7.04 ERA, six saves, and three blown saves.



Now, Bailey has lost the closer's job to Joel Hanrahan, who was acquired in a trade with the Pirates on Dec. 26 – two days shy of a year to the day when Bailey was acquired. In the last two seasons Hanrahan is fourth in the National League with a combined 76 saves and a 2.24 ERA. In that span he has recorded 128 strikeouts while holding opponents to a .205 batting average, being named a NL All-Star in both seasons. He and Atlanta's Craig Kimbrel are the only pitchers to collect at least 35 saves and post an ERA under 3.00 in both 2011 and 2012.



Hanrahan has the resume and the qualifications to take over the closer's job. On the proverbial paper, he represents an upgrade. His 36 saves in 2012 are one more than the Sox as a team were able to post.



Still, being brought in to take the place of a pitcher who will now be one your bullpen mates can make for some uncomfortable dynamics.



But Hanrahan knows it's part of the package. A former starting pitcher, the second-round pick of the Dodgers out of Norwalk High in Iowa in 2000, he was granted free agency after the 2006 season. In late 2008, while with the Nationals, he was named the team's closer. Less than a year later, with just five saves, he was traded to the Pirates.