Back in their playing days, Craig Breslow and Andrew Bailey used to sit in the bullpen talking about life after retirement. Even then Breslow imagined himself running a team, and Bailey would say he could be his bullpen coach, pitching coach or manager.
Fast forward about a decade, and that vision has become a reality.
Bailey was officially introduced as the Red Sox new pitching coach on Tuesday, making the former big league veteran one of Breslow’s first additions as chief baseball officer. Bailey said getting to team up with Breslow was a big part of why he took the job and that he’s grateful for the opportunity to be back in Boston.
“Life’s too short to turn down opportunities like this,” Bailey said. “To be able to kind of joke around like that with a former teammate and a true friend and now be able to see that path laid out and to be able compete together in another capacity is special, and I think that drove a lot of my thinking.”
A two-time All-Star who won Rookie of the Year with the Oakland Athletics in 2009, Bailey pitched for five clubs over eight seasons as a player, including the Red Sox from 2012-13. Following his retirement Bailey transitioned to coaching and over the past four seasons as served as pitching coach for the San Francisco Giants.
Under his leadership the Giants pitching staff consistently ranked among the best in baseball, but this offseason Bailey’s contract ran out and the 39-year-old felt he needed to get back to the East Coast so he could be closer to his young family.
Bailey had no shortage of suitors. In addition to the Red Sox, who he says he connected with early in the offseason before Breslow had even been hired, the right-hander also reportedly interviewed for the New York Yankees bench coach job.
The personal connection with Breslow provided a strong pull, and Bailey ultimately decided Boston would be the best fit, both because he and the organization were aligned philosophically and also because he’ll now be only a two-hour drive from his family.
Another perk of being back in Boston? A chance to redeem himself after an admittedly disappointing stint as a player.
“It’s not too frequent you get a second opportunity to right the ship in a different capacity,” said Bailey, who spent much of his two seasons with the Red Sox injured while posting a 4.91 ERA in 49 appearances. “I know what failure feels like in a major market, and in Boston specifically, so I’m super stoked to have that opportunity again to bring a sustainable winning franchise here to the City of Boston.”