The Red Sox also did not tender a contract to outfielder Ryan Kalish, who was prevented by a series of debilitating injuries from fulfilling the bright promise he showed as a rookie in 2010. The moves left the Sox with 38 players on their 40-man major league roster.
As a result, both players became free agents, although Monday night's procedural move does not close the door on either player returning to Boston. Bailey in particular could draw further interest from the Red Sox, although he underwent shoulder surgery in July that is expected to sideline him until at least the second half of the 2014 season.
The Red Sox could offer Bailey a minor league deal or a contract with a lower base salary than what he could have expected to receive in salary arbitration, for which he would have been eligible had the Sox tendered him a contract.
Bailey was paid $4.1 million in 2013 and, even though he appeared in just 30 games this past season, would have been in line for a raise, based on service time. After two All-Star seasons in Oakland, Bailey came to the Red Sox as the central piece of a deal in which Boston traded outfielder Josh Reddick and two minor leaguers. Bailey injured his right thumb in a freak spring training collision and needed surgery that caused him to miss the team's first 116 games, and he did not pitch well upon his return, posting a 7.04 ERA and six saves in 19 appearances.
Doubts about Bailey led the Red Sox to deal for another closer, Joel Hanrahan, last winter, with general manager Ben Cherington announcing immediately after the deal that Hanrahan would be the closer going into camp. Bailey briefly reinherited the closer's role after Hanrahan went down with a hamstring injury in April, and he ran off five saves in a span of seven games, posting a 1.29 ERA while striking out 11 and walking just two in seven innings.
But Bailey went on the disabled list in early May with a right biceps strain, and when manager John Farrell turned to him again after Hanrahan blew out his elbow later that month and ultimately underwent Tommy John surgery, the right-hander hit a rough patch. After recording a win and a save in his first six appearances, Bailey went through a stretch in June in which he was charged with a loss and four blown saves while posting a 16.20 ERA.
Koji Uehara became the closer, and right after the All-Star break, Bailey went on the disabled list with a strained right shoulder. A week later, Bailey had surgery to repair the right capsule in the shoulder. Uehara led the Red Sox to the World Series.
Kalish also will be coming back from surgery, having undergone complicated cervical fusion surgery in August, which involved the removal of a disk in his neck, the use of his own bone to replace it and the insertion of a metal plate to fuse it together. Kalish began last season on the 60-day disabled list after undergoing surgery to repair the posterior labrum in his right (non-throwing shoulder) in January.
Those operations were preceded by other major procedures: surgery to repair a bulging disk in his neck and labrum surgery on his left shoulder. Both of those operations took place in 2011, the neck surgery in September and the shoulder surgery in November.
Those operations came after he was hurt that April when slamming into a wall in Pawtucket's McCoy Stadium while making a leaping catch.
He played in 24 games in 2011, all in the minors, before batting .229 in 36 games for the Red Sox in 2012, spread over three different call-ups. Kalish will be only 26 next March but has had a total of just 320 at-bats since the end of the 2010 season, when he batted .252 in 58 games with the Red Sox, stealing 10 bases and hitting 11 doubles.
Kalish said after his latest procedure that he is still determined to continue his baseball career and hopes to be ready by spring training.