Cincinnati Reds pitcher Homer Bailey has been in the rumor mill lately on seemingly every baseball site about the potential he is traded by the Reds. This comes as a confusing concept to many casual fans who know Bailey from his back to back no hitters in 2012 and 2013. But does trading Homer Bailey actually make sense?
To start with yes it does and here is why. Bailey is available for arbitration this winter for the third and final time, the Reds will likely have to pay him around the $9M mark for the 2014 season if they are to sign him. Homer has really come into his own as a pitcher over the last two seasons and the Reds realize they will have to pay him sooner or later. His $5.35M deal for the 2013 season is the cheapest the Reds will ever get Bailey again.
Over the last three seasons Bailey’s ERA has dropped each season. In 2011 his ERA was 4.43, 2012 ERA 3.68, 2013 ERA 3.49, each season Bailey has gotten better. His win loss column is still not that impressive but that is not entirely his fault the Cincinnati Reds offense continually under performed when Bailey was pitching. His strikeouts have increased each season while his Hits per 9IP has dropped each season. Homer Bailey has every indication of becoming a very solid #2 or even an ace for a developing team.
Trading Homer opens up a number of possibilities for the Reds. First off they will get a good position player or a solid rotation guy or some very good minor league players (preferably pitchers). Fans hate to hear about getting minor leaguers but at the end of the day the Cincinnati farm system has developed some good pitchers (Bailey, Leake, Wood) to name a few. Trading Bailey also keeps the Reds from having to pay him a big deal. Young pitchers are getting gigantic contracts right now. The problem with that is they never live up to the contract, no one in baseball really ever lives up to their big contracts.
One thing that the Reds would like to do is sign Bailey for one season the 2014 season then allow him to leave in free agency if the two sides cannot agree on a deal. Allowing Bailey to sign as a free agent would grant the Reds a first round draft pick because Bailey turned down a qualifying offer. With the possibility of the Cincinnati would need something better than a first round pick to trade Bailey this offseason.
Cincinnati Reds GM Walt Jocketty knows resigning Homer is going to be difficult “probably the one guy that’s going to be the most difficult to sign because of how well he’s done and where he’s at in this service class. Young pitchers are getting quite a bit” Jocketty told MLB.com.
Jocketty is right Bailey would likely need a deal somewhere in the five to seven year range likely in the $55-60M range and that doesn’t appear likely to happen unless the Reds are willing to spend more money. Jocketty always says the Reds have no money to spend yet they always seem to find some, so we’ll se about that.
So would trading Homer be good or bad? At the moment it feels like it would be a good thing. Cincinnati was hardly a contender last season, they lost Choo this season and haven’t done much in the way of improving so would having Homer in the rotation really be beneficial if they aren’t going anywhere?
Like always it is a waiting game with the Reds, realistically though expect Homer in Arizona come February 14th.