A's ship Andrew Bailey to Boston

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Bobby Valentine has found his new man for the back end of the Boston bullpen.

The Oakland Athletics traded All-Star closer Andrew Bailey and outfielder Ryan Sweeney to the Red Sox on Wednesday for outfielder Josh Reddick and infield prospect Miles Head and minor league pitcher Raul Alcantara.

"I'm excited, obviously," Bailey said. "It's an organization that continues to win each and every year and they're definitely a contender each and every year.

"I'm grateful that the Red Sox saw value in me. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't excited about being a Red Sox."

In the deal, Bailey gives the Red Sox a reliable ninth-inning guy to replace the departed Jonathan Papelbon, who signed a $50 million, four-year contract as a free agent with the Philadelphia Phillies in November.

"Andrew's a proven top-quality closer in the American League. He's done it for three years and has had a lot of success," said general manager Ben Cherington. "He's converted a very high percentage of his opportunities. He's got the stuff and we really like his makeup for Boston."

Bailey -- the 2009 AL Rookie of the Year who made the All-Star team that season and again in 2010 -- has been the subject of trade talk this offseason.

The right-handed Bailey, 27, went 0-4 with a 3.24 ERA and 24 saves in 41 2/3 innings over 42 appearances this year. He spent time on the disabled list for the second straight season, pitching for the first time in 2011 on May 29 after being sidelined with a strained right forearm.

"We had a chance to look into Bailey's medical history and we got to know a lot more about what he's been through," Cherington said. "He had Tommy John surgery five years ago and has fully recovered from that. He had some elbow symptoms in 2010 and had a minor procedure after the 2010 season. Then he came into spring training in 2011, perhaps ramped up too quickly and had a setback and (there) appeared to be some scar tissue breakup.

"It was a minor scar tissue injury and he was able to recover from that and get back to pitching and perform well. His stuff and performance was solid down the stretch. We're very confident he'll come into camp ready to go and ready to help our team in 2012."

Bailey becomes the fourth key pitcher traded this month by the rebuilding A's, who dealt starter Trevor Cahill and reliever Craig Breslow to the Arizona Diamondbacks on Dec. 9 and then sent left-handed starter Gio Gonzalez to Washington last Thursday.

"There's nothing like the atmosphere of running in from the bullpen at Fenway Park," Bailey said. "You can't put it into words. It's something I look forward to doing day in and day out in a Red Sox uniform. Fenway is the greatest stadium in baseball and to be able to pitch in that uniform, and in that stadium, is something I'll never forget."

Reddick, who began last season at Triple-A Pawtucket before being promoted in late May, will look to fill a big void in Oakland's open outfield.

The 24-year-old Reddick batted .280 with seven homers and 28 RBIs in 87 games for Boston in 2011. He can play any outfield spot and likely will get immediate action for the A's, who already lost outfielders David DeJesus and Josh Willingham in free agency. Center fielder Coco Crisp isn't expected to return either.

Oakland general manager Billy Beane is retooling his roster for the future in hopes that the franchise will get the go-ahead to build a new ballpark some 40 miles south in San Jose despite the San Francisco Giants' owning the territorial rights to technology-rich Santa Clara County. Beane and owner Lew Wolff have said they expect to hear soon from commissioner Bud Selig, and Beane said the unsettled stadium situation would affect his ability to sign his own free agents this winter.

The A's (74-88) haven't posted a winning record or earned a playoff berth since being swept in the 2006 AL Championship Series by Detroit.

At last summer's trade deadline, the A's and Red Sox were near completion on a deal that would have sent Oakland right-hander Rich Harden to Boston for Triple-A first baseman Lars Anderson, but it fell through late because of Harden's lengthy list of injury issues.

Former Red Sox pitching coach Curt Young returned to the A's this offseason to work under manager Bob Melvin.

Head, a first baseman, batted .299 with 22 home runs and 82 RBIs in 129 games with two of the Red Sox's Class A affiliates, at Greenville and Salem.

The right-handed Alcantara, 19, combined for a 1-4 record and a 2.20 ERA in 13 starts with Class A Lowell and the Red Sox affiliate in the Gulf Coast League. He struck out 50 and walked just 12 while holding opponents to a .208 batting average.

Information from ESPN The Magazine's Buster Olney, ESPNBoston.com's Joe McDonald and The Associated Press was used in this report.