Red Sox manager John Farrell told WEEI.com Wednesday afternoon that he kept in communication with reliever Andrew Bailey throughout trade talks for closer Joel Hanrahan, with Bailey accepting the eventual news that Hanrahan would assume the closer's role like a "pro."
"As this deal with Pittsburgh looked like it was going to be closer to being done, we wanted to let Andrew know what our goal this offseason was, and we reaffirmed that with him. That was to improve the team in any way we could," Farrell said. "We didn't specifically go into the offseason looking for a closer but when this team presented itself we thought it would do just that, it would improve our team.
"In talking to Andrew and explaining to him what our approach was, it was by no means a reflection on him personally. But the fact we were able to add a very good closer to our bullpen it really has a chance to deepen a strong group that emerged last year.
"[Bailey] was a pro about it. He understood. He has strong belief and confidence in himself, which we like. He was a pro about it. He will be in an important role for us late in the game."
Farrell, whose only first-hand experience with Hanrahan was a June 28, 2011 game between the Blue Jays and Pirates, said that he is hopeful Bailey emerges with a defined role as the eighth-inning set-up man for Hanrahan.
"Ideally that would be the scenario we settle into," Farrell said. "Knowing we have options on days guys are not available, like if Hanrahan has pitched multiple days in a row and he might need a day and we have another guy who has a lot of saves in the early stage of his career to close out games. I think it would be important to define roles as best we can to allow those guys to mentally prepare as their situation in the game starts to emerge. I think that's when guys pitch most effectively."
As for the rest of the bullpen, Farrell explained there was no need to identify specific roles for relievers, mentioning that "we obviously have the ability to matchup."
"I can't say this guy has this inning or that guy has that inning," he said. "It's not that clear-cut right now, but I think there's confidence in every guy in that pen to pitch high-leverage situations."
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