Tag: Homer Bailey

Homer Bailey Injury: Updates on Reds SP’s Recovery from Tommy John Surgery

Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Homer Bailey is continuing his recovery from Tommy John surgery, which he underwent in May 2015.   

Continue for updates.

Bailey Inching Toward Full Recovery

Thursday, March 24

On Thursday, Bailey threw his second live batting practice of spring training, per the Cincinnati Enquirer:

According to C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer, Bailey simulated two innings on the day. It came just three days after his first live batting practice, where he faced four batters and threw five pitches, per Rosecrans

We still have a few steps to go, but the bright side is, everything felt as expected, which was normal,” Bailey told Rosecrans on Monday. “Other than that, I don’t have much to report.”

No news after his live batting practice on Thursday is good news for Bailey, who is expected to rejoin the Reds’ rotation in May, according to Rosecrans. 

When he’s able to stay on the field, Bailey has proved that he can be a solid middle- to lower-rotation arm in Cincinnati’s rotation with a 58-51 career record.

He even pitched the franchise’s 16th no-hitter back in 2012 and added a second in 2013 against the San Francisco Giants:

The problem has been that he’s had trouble keeping healthy. Before his Tommy John surgery in 2015, Bailey’s 2014 season was cut short due to a forearm injury that also required surgery. 

Cincinnati’s rotation doesn’t host many marquee arms, which could prove troublesome in 2016 and could call for Bailey’s services toward the top of the staff. 

Without the likes of Johnny Cueto and Mike Leake, who departed at the trade deadline last season, the Reds are looking at a pitching staff headlined by Anthony DeSclafani, Alfredo Simon and Raisel Iglesias, three pitchers who put up a combined record of 25-32 last season. 

That could spell disaster in a National League Central division that features the powerful Chicago Cubs, St. Louis Cardinals and Pittsburgh Pirates


Stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com

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Re-Evaluating the Cincinnati Reds’ Top Draft Picks from the Past Decade

It’s what’s on the agenda when a team is eight games under .500 and 11.5 games out of first before June. Because a Reds rebuild seems all but certain with ace Johnny Cueto playing in the final year of his contract, it’s time to assess what’s worked and what’s in store.

What has Walt Jocketty assembled in the last seven seasons, and what did previous general manager Wayne Krivsky leave him with? The following is a list of the Reds’ first-round draft picks from the past decade:


2005: Jay Bruce, OF

Has time snuck up on you too? Jay Bruce was drafted 12th overall that year and was widely considered the future. He was called up to replace Corey Patterson in the early part of 2008 after hitting above .300 across three minor league levels in 2007.

Did he go on to become the Reds’ future? The term’s subjective—after all, it was Bruce’s looping swing that ended the playoff drought and brought the Reds back for the first time in a decade. It’s hard to argue that he became the face of this franchise—Joey Votto or Johnny Cueto may have thoughts on that matter—but there’s no denying he’s contributed in a big way.

His rookie season, he finished No. 5 overall in Rookie of the Year voting, he’s a three-time All-Star with two Silver Slugger awards, and he finished No. 10 in MVP voting two years straight (’12-’13).

He’s a career .250/.323/.486 but has 571 RBI and 189 home runs. In now his eighth year, Bruce has only hit fewer than 20 home runs once—last year, a year that featured arthroscopic knee surgery.

Despite a lengthy slump, there is no denying how prolific Bruce has been to a playoff roster. This was a successful pick by Krivsky. Considering his contract and the Reds’ oncoming fire sale, it’s likely we’ll see the end of the Bruce era here. He’s likely to fetch a good return, especially if his recent hot streak continues.


2006: Drew Stubbs, OF

Believe it or not, Stubbs was the eighth overall pick that year. He ended up debuting with the Reds in 2009 as the Reds were assembling their new product post-Griffey-Dunn Era, ripe with high draft picks.

In a lot of ways, Stubbs contributed—his defense in center was good, and averaging nearly 30 stolen bases and over 12 home runs a season was good. But power aside, Stubbs was not a good hitter. His OBP was never higher than .329; .255 was the highest average he’d have in four years—all of which are very forgettable, especially for a top-10 overall draft pick.

But Walt Jocketty turned Drew Stubbs into Shin-Soo Choo, a pivotal piece of the Reds’ 2013 playoff campaign. And for that, Stubbs proved even more useful.


2007: Devin Mesoraco C, Todd Frazier 3B, Kyle Lotzkar RHP

Can we universally agree the first two names from 2007 are successes? Both made the All-Star Game in 2014, and Frazier was a Home Run Derby for what it’s worth, the first Reds participant since Ken Griffey Jr.

But Frazier is currently No. 2 in NL home runs behind Bryce Harper. His career line in now his fourth season is .258/.328/.461, but there’s no denying the impact he’s had on the Reds offense. He’s had two good batting average years (.273 in ’12 and ’14) and two bad ones (.232 in ’11, .234 in ’13).

He’s one of the only notable acts happening at Great American Ball Park right now. Devin Mesoraco perhaps would be, but he can’t stay healthy. The young slugger has made it to the disabled list again after just 51 plate appearances.

For his career, he’s slashing an unimpressive .242/.313/.423. But Mesoraco has just two years since 2011 where he’s played in over 100 games. He was an All-Star last season, a season that featured a career-high 440 plate appearances.

Kyle Lotzkar came and went. This was a swing and miss of Jonny Gomes caliber. He never made it higher than Double-A, which is where he’s at now, within the Texas Rangers organization.

Thus ends the Krivsky portion of the re-evaluation. Time to see how Walt did.


2008: Yonder Alonso, 1B

Was Yonder Alonso a successful pick? Walt Jocketty turned him and two other first-round draft picks into Mat Latos, the key No. 2 in the rotation that earned the Reds the 2012 NL Central crown. He was also the pitcher who surrendered the deciding Buster Posey grand slam to end that season.

That was Latos’ most important pitch as a Red, but there’s no denying his three exceptional years in a Reds uniform, never finishing with an ERA above 3.48 and tossing over 200 innings twice.


2009: Mike Leake SP, Bradley Boxberger RHP

Despite Mike Leake’s recent struggles, this pick skipped the farm and went right to the pros after being drafted. He’s never been asked to be the ace, and prior to this season, he’s never had to play the role of a No. 2 guy. So his career 55-46 3.97 is a remarkable contribution.

Leake threw over 200 innings for the first time last year. He’s on pace to do it again this season. Should the Reds enter rebuild, Leake is a candidate for trade, but he’s also an extension candidate, especially if and when the Reds move Cueto and free themselves of enormous fiscal responsibility.

Bradley Boxberger was packaged with Alonso and one other to land Latos.

2010: Yasmani Grandal, C

Grandal was also moved in the package for Latos. Devin Mesoraco won the role of Reds future catcher in Cincinnati.


2011: Robert Stephenson, SP 

Baseball America‘s No. 1 Reds prospect and one of the Reds’ only two Top 100 MLB prospects (MLB.com), Stephenson has struggled mightily since reaching Double-A. In now his third Double-A season, the promising right-hander is 9-16 with a 4.87 ERA.

That’s not to say there isn’t serious potential here—there most assuredly is. In 39.1 innings pitched, Stephenson’s recorded 46 strikeouts. That’s serious. The problem is his control. He’s averaging 6.6 walks per nine innings. Command has plagued him since reaching Double-A, after he finished averaging seven walks per nine innings in 2013.


2012: Nick Travieso SP, Jesse Winker OF, Jeff Gelalich OF

Nick Travieso is developing fine as the Reds’ No. 8 prospect. He’s 2-4 with a 3.88 ERA and 7.9 strikeouts per nine innings. He’s just in High-A, so it’s unlikely we’ll see him anytime soon.

Jesse Winker is the other Top 100 MLB prospect the Reds are sitting on and the Reds’ No.3 prospect, according to Baseball America. Prior to his wrist injury last season, Winker was killing it. But since reaching Double-A last season, Winker is slashing .225/.341/.333.

That could be just due to a cold start—Winker did impress in the Arizona Fall League (hit .338). Still, there’s no reason to suggest he’s regressing or anything yet, not unless his averages remain like this for the whole season. 

Winker is considered by man to be the heir to Jay Bruce’s throne in left field. 

Jeff Gelalich is now in his fourth minor league season. He’s still hovering around High-A and is only slashing .240/.326/.332. This left-handed hitter is a working project, often displaying flashes of potential, but he lacks consistency. 

2013: Phillip Ervin OF, Michael Lorenzen SP

Ervin bats behind Gelalich for the High-A Daytona Tortugas. It’s the highest level of competition he’s seen, and thus far he is handling it fine, slashing .253/.338/.460 in 202 plate appearances. 

Ervin wasn’t listed as an organizational top prospect, but he’s coming off a poor season in Dayton, where he hit just .238.

Michael Lorenzen, the No. 4 organizational prospect, has been an incredible draft pick so far. Lorenzen was pitching in Double-A last season. He started this year in Triple-A, and following season-ending surgery for Bailey, he’s pitching in The Show and doing it well (1-1, 3.12).

2014: Nick Howard RHP, Alex Blandino SS

A closer in college, the Reds tried converting Howard to a starter, and prior to this season, it was looking like a good move. This season has been brutal for Howard, though, and following a bad stretch where he surrendered 10 earned runs in three starts and never made it out of the fourth inning, he was moved back to the bullpen.

After three scoreless appearances from the bullpen, Howard’s been roughed up. He’s sporting a 7.03 ERA and a WHIP over 2.00.

Alex Blandino, however, is performing well in the same lineup as Ervin and Gelalich. He’s slashing .319/.405/.448. Numbers like this make him an enticing heir to Zack Cozart’s throne.

Krisky’s last picks, minus Lotzkar, were all good. The jury is still out on Jocketty’s 12 picks. Three of the 12 became Latos, who ultimately became Anthony DeSclafani, so hard to knock those. Two of the 12 are currently in the Reds starting rotation. The other seven are in development, but none of them above Double-A.

Still, from a pitching stance, the pipeline seems stocked with future contributors, provided they make it.

Stats courtesy of Baseball-reference.com unless noted otherwise. Organizational rankings compliments of BaseballAmerica.com while Top-100 prospects come from MLB.com.

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Reds’ Decision to Spend Big on Homer Bailey Backfires in More Ways Than One

The $105 million contract the Cincinnati Reds gave Homer Bailey before the 2014 season has turned into a $105 million gut punch, and the team may be reeling from it for a while.

The bad news came down late Friday morning. After making only two starts in 2015 due to a delayed return from elbow surgery, Bailey now needs a more serious operation. As the Reds announced, the 28-year-old right-hander is due for season-ending Tommy John surgery:

Bailey isn’t the first ace to need Tommy John surgery, nor will he be the last. But there is a bit of history going on here, as Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports notes that he’s only the second $100 million pitcher to need the operation:

Apart from the history, there’s the reality of the situation for the Reds. And it’s not good.

Bailey only managed a 5.56 ERA in his two starts this season, but he was an above-average starter with a 3.61 ERA across 562.2 innings between 2012 and 2014. And on occasion, he was much more than merely above average. He tossed no-hitters in 2012 and 2013 and posted 31 starts of at least seven innings and no more than two earned runs.

In light of that, losing Bailey for the season is certainly a blow for the Reds. In the long run, it may even the killing blow. The 11-11 Reds might have been able to stay in the NL Central race had Bailey eventually regained his 2012-2014 form, but it’s hard to see that now.

There’s too steep of a drop-off in their rotation after Johnny Cueto, Mike Leake and rookie sensation Anthony DeSclafani. Their offense is riddled with inconsistency outside of the rejuvenated Joey Votto. And outside of Aroldis Chapman, Cincinnati’s MLB-worst bullpen is “Nope Nope Nope Nope” territory.

If the Reds do fall out of contention, it’s possible they could wave the white flag not just on the rest of 2015, but on subsequent seasons as well. 

The Reds have a farm system that could use some rebuilding, and they have several tradeable pieces that could help them do so. Cueto and Leake are both free-agents-to-be, and Chapman and Jay Bruce could also be made available with their contracts set to end in 2016.

Consider this your reminder that the Reds entered 2015 seemingly a mere push away from an all-out rebuild. Ultimately, Bailey’s injury could be that push.

Maybe things didn’t have to happen this way. Heck, it’s hard not to ask what might have been had the Reds not rolled the dice on Bailey last year.

Understand, the Reds didn’t make a mistake when they handed Bailey his six-year, $105 million extension in February 2014. It’s easy to say so in hindsight, but at the time, it was a fair deal.

Bailey had posted a 3.58 ERA across 417 innings in 2012 and 2013, and that ERA undersold how well he actually pitched. With escalating strikeout rates and improved command, FanGraphsFIP-based WAR ranked Bailey as the NL’s 12th-best pitcher in those two seasons.

And because 2013 was only his age-27 season, Bailey looked like a pitcher on the rise. The Reds thus had several reasons to hand him his nine-figure contract, and it wasn’t an overpay. Rather, it was fair market value.

But this isn’t to say there was no risk involved. While Bailey’s contract itself was fine, the Reds put themselves in a tight financial spot as soon as they filed it away.

Bailey joined Votto, Bruce and Brandon Phillips among Reds players who had been extended for multiple years at lofty prices. That’s a lot of big-money players for a small-market team like the Reds, and there was a possibility that so much guaranteed money would render the franchise unable to lock up other players.

Namely: Cueto and Mat Latos. Both were desirable long-term options at the time Bailey signed his deal, and the clock to extend both was ticking with the two of them due for free agency after 2015.

As Jonathan Bernhardt wrote for Sports on Earth, the Reds might as well have been waving goodbye to them right then and there:

 Unless they get a major new source of revenue (possible, given that the team’s TV contract is up for renewal in 2016) ,or drastically increase their budget from the $100 million range to the $150 million range — and this is only the second season the Reds have had being a member of the $100 million club to begin with — their payroll can’t sustain another large contract for a high-end pitcher while still providing for the rest of the team. That would mean that the Reds likely wouldn’t be choosing between Latos and Cueto; they’d be letting them both walk.

In the case of Latos, this has proved to be no harm, no foul. His own health betrayed him in 2014, and now Reds general manager Walt Jocketty looks like a genius for trading him to the Miami Marlins for DeSclafani, who has a National League-best 1.04 ERA and only recently turned 25.

Cueto, however, is a different story.

Because Cueto was coming off an injury-wrecked 2013 at the time Bailey signed his contract, it’s revisionist history to say that the Reds obviously made a mistake in not extending him instead of Bailey. All the same, Bernhardt was correct in his notion that when Bailey signed on the dotted line, Cueto was likely as good as gone.

Since the start of 2014, Cueto‘s been as good as any pitcher in the Senior Circuit. He’s racked up a 2.21 ERA in 280.2 innings and has four more starts of at least seven innings and no more than two earned runs than any other NL hurler. On a WAR basis, he’s been right there with Clayton Kershaw.

The Reds made a sincere effort to get something done with Cueto over the winter, but it’s no surprise that effort went nowhere. With so many expensive players already on the books, the Reds only had so much money to offer. And with free agency just months away, Cueto had no reason to settle.

Obviously, nobody can say for certain what the Reds would have done had they chosen not to extend Bailey. But it’s fair to wonder, what if?

Maybe the Reds could have extended Cueto to at least have a real ace for their currently bleak-looking future. Or maybe they could have taken Bailey’s money and invested it in smaller parts instead, building a team with a real chance to do something special before embracing a rebuild after 2015. Either way, maybe things would look a lot better in hindsight than they do now.

To note as much isn’t to wag a finger at the Reds for extending Bailey. It was a reasonable move at the time, and what’s happened in the subsequent year-plus shouldn’t change that perception.

But it was still a gamble. And if nothing else, today’s news is a reminder that when you gamble, sometimes you lose.


Note: Stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference unless otherwise noted/linked.

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A Fan’s Christmas Wish List of the Cincinnati Reds in 2015

Dear Santa,

Reds fan here. We haven’t been on the greatest of terms since Clinchmas, now over four years ago. Where have you been since? And what’s with all the coal in our red stockings?

What do you think about when you’re checking your list and you get to the Cincinnati Reds? Clinchmas was amazing, but that team got swept by the Phillies. Then after a deflating 2011 season, you put Mat Latos under the tree, and we witnessed arguably the best Reds team in over a decade.

But it was weird, Santa. Joey Votto suffered then an injury that’s affecting him now, and Johnny Cueto couldn’t come home for the holidays when we needed him most.

Weren’t we good? How could our behavior have been any better?

I got over it when you gave us Shin-Soo Choo the next year. Because it was all about the lead-off man. It was awesome; Choo finished with a .423 OBP that season. The Reds had a .323 OBP for the year, No. 6 in the game. But Cueto got hurt again. We got him back just barely in time to throw him right into a one-game playoff, where he not only got shelled but created a moment that will follow Cueto back to PNC Park in every start he will make there.

You lost me there, Santa. But I sucked it up. Maybe Pittsburgh had just stacked more karma than the Reds. I know not to be envious. But after 2014, I’m struggling to find any Christmas spirit.

You know what happened. No one likes talking about it, but you know it had a lot to do with injuries and the bullpen failure. Most reasonable Reds fans will admit as much, even if the local media won’t.

But baseball doesn’t wait. And since we could no longer afford 2011’s Christmas gift, we had to trade him away, along with another starter. And now what do we do? How does a team built on its rotation, the third-best rotation in baseball, have any success without its No. 2?

C’mon, Santa. It’s all tidings and good cheer until it’s time to sit down at the arbitration table, isn’t it?

Will you please bring us something for the back of the rotation? I know the Reds have tons of minor league talent nearing ready, but there’s no reason to rush them. Aaron Harang is out there. He threw over 200 innings and cashed in a 3.75 ERA. And he only made $1 million last year. Not asking for much.

Then there’s our bullpen, which you know was naughty. To be second in bullpen losses and have the third-worst bullpen ERA is to replace your eye drops with lemon juice. I know we were bad, so can you help us be better and maybe bring us another bullpen arm? If Raisel Iglesias is all, I won’t be mad, but a middle-relief guy would be decent, and if nothing else, maybe let Sean Marshall stay healthy?

Speaking of health, can you bring two bubbles? One for Votto and one for Homer Bailey? You understand.

This last request will come as no surprise, Santa. And you already know what I’m going to ask. It’s been years since we had a good left fielder to watch on an everyday basis. Instead of bringing us some cheap knock-off, better-as-a-pinch-hitter brand, can you just get us Nori Aoki?

I don’t care about all the talk surrounding his declining power numbers, or how he hit just one home run last year. Who cares? His OBP was .349 and .353 for his career.

This is serious, Santa. Honestly, it would be cool if you got me everything else, but this is like the Nintendo 64 when it was new. You could get me all the cool stuff in the world, but without the 64 centerpiece, Christmas is ruined.

CBSSports.com’s Jon Heyman says Aoki is going to get anywhere from $7 to $8 million. Is that in the budget this year?

That’s all I got, big man. I want a back-of-the-rotation veteran starter, I want a middle-relief bullpen arm and I want a left fielder. And if it’s not too much, I’d like to be able to enjoy the 2015 Reds product, not its understudies.

And don’t give me any excuses this year. You can travel around the world in a single night, you can force yourself down chimneys, even in houses that don’t have one, and you fly reindeer. That’s great and all, but wake me up when Aoki is under my tree.


Stats courtesy of ESPN.com/MLB

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Homer Bailey’s Huge Extension Puts Pressure on Jon Lester, Max Scherzer Talks

With starting pitcher Homer Bailey officially off the 2014-2015 free-agent board after agreeing to a long-term contract extension with the Cincinnati Reds, the pressure could be rising for the Boston Red Sox and Detroit Tigers to get deals done with their own free agent-to-be front-line starters. 

Red Sox ace Jon Lester and Tigers co-ace Max Scherzer, the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner, were already on track to be the cream of the crop when it comes to free-agent starting pitchers next offseason. Bailey had a decent chance to join them if he could duplicate his numbers from the previous two seasons.

But after the Reds guaranteed the 27-year-old Bailey (pictured) $105 million over the next six seasons—a total he wouldn’t likely have reached had he struggled on the mound or battled injuries during the upcoming season—his 2014 performance is now highly unlikely to have a negative effect on the market value of Lester or Scherzer.

If anything, the agents for each pitcher would have an even stronger argument should their client have a better season than Bailey, who hasn’t been quite as dominant as Scherzer over the past couple of seasons… 

Scherzer‘s 2012-2013
18 5 3.29 32 201 166 58 236 20 1.112 2.6 10.5 22 70%

*Via Baseball-Reference.com  

Bailey’s 2012-2013
12 11 3.58 32 208 194 53 184 23 1.182 2.3 7.9 20 63%

*Via Baseball-Reference.com 

…and can’t come close to matching Lester’s much longer track record of success. 

Bailey’s average annual totals since 2009
9 7 3.99 25 154 149 46 132 17 1.268 2.7 7.7 14 57%

*Via Baseball-Reference.com 

Lester’s average annual totals since 2008
15 9 3.65 32 205 191 70 188 19 1.274 3.1 8.2 20 61%

*Via Baseball-Reference.com 

So while Bailey is a year younger than Scherzer and two years younger than Lester, that may have been his agent’s lone argument as to why his client’s contract should be comparable to either.

Barring a drastic decline from Lester—who Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald figures could ask for at least $20 million per season on his next contract—or Scherzer in 2014, their respective agents should be able to point to Bailey’s deal and negotiate an even better one.

This is bad news for their respective teams, who aren’t likely to view the compensation draft pick gained in June 2015, should either pitcher sign elsewhere, as much of a consolation prize considering how big of a hole either departure would create.

Had Bailey and the Reds been unable to reach an agreement, things could’ve been more favorable for the Red Sox and Tigers in their quests to sign Lester and Scherzer.

A subpar performance from Bailey in 2014 and there would be no $105 million deal set as the starting point in negotiations. A third consecutive strong season from Bailey would mean Lester and Scherzer (pictured) would have another established front-line starting pitcher to compete with on the free-agent market and their bargaining power could decrease as a result.

With this in mind, they could’ve been more open to signing a contract extension with their current team prior to the start of free agency. 

As things stand, however, the sense of urgency from the Lester/Scherzer camps to get a long-term contract done prior to next offseason has likely decreased. Next year’s free-agent market, as Joel Sherman of the New York Post pointed out, keeps getting worse with Clayton Kershaw also removed from the list after he agreed to a contract extension with the Los Angeles Dodgers last month.

The Red Sox and Tigers must now be the aggressors if talks are going to heat up and they must be willing to go well beyond what Bailey just received from the Reds. 

By allowing Lester and Scherzer to become free agents next November, the Red Sox and Tigers will risk the price rising even higher following a typical season from either pitcher and the bidding war likely to ensue with just two or three front-line starting pitchers available—Cleveland Indians right-hander Justin Masterson, another long-term extension candidate, would likely be third on the list. 

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4 Impact MLB Trades That Could Go Down in February

The five-player trade between the Houston Astros and Oakland Athletics involving Jed Lowrie and Chris Carter, who both went on to have highly productive seasons for their new teams in 2013, was the lone “blockbuster” trade from last February.

It doesn’t mean that we won’t have an eventful month ahead of us, with the potential for multiple impact trades to happen. Several big names have already been discussed in trades this winter and it wouldn’t be a big surprise to see a few of them head into spring training with a new team.

Here are four impact trades that could go down in February.

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Final Predictions for MLB Players Headed for Arbitration Hearings

In baseball terms, “file and trial” is a way of describing teams willing to go through the arbitration-hearing process with their young, ascending talents. With salary numbers exchanged, the real fun begins for the players still without a final salary for the 2014 MLB season.

As the season approaches, the following players have one more hurdle to clear before workouts, exhibition games and preparation for the 2014 season can commence: a battle for salary against their employers.

Over the years, arbitration wars have turned ugly, souring the relationship between team, agent and player.

The following stars are all on the path to arbitration hearings. When the dust settles, salary will be determined for 2014, but an uncertain future could present itself along the way.


Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference and FanGraphs, unless otherwise noted. All contract figures courtesy of Cot’s Baseball Contracts. Arbitration numbers and projections courtesy of MLB Trade Rumors.

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Best Potential Trade Packages, Landing Spots for Homer Bailey

With little major league-ready depth after their projected five starters, the Cincinnati Reds aren’t currently in a position to shop Homer Bailey as he enters his last season before free agency. So it makes sense that the Reds were telling teams last month that he’s not available, as was reported by Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.

But with Bronson Arroyo still available in free agency, along with a few other very good starting pitchers, the possibility of trading the 27-year-old Bailey with the knowledge that they would replace him with another good option is still alive.

The Reds have discussed a long-term contract extension with Bailey’s representatives, according to Mark Sheldon of MLB.com, though general manager Walt Jocketty acknowledged that the right-hander would be difficult to sign because of his recent success—Bailey has a 3.58 ERA with a 2.3 BB/9 and 7.9 K/9 over the past two seasons, including a few stretches of dominance. As Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports pointed out last month, an inability to sign Bailey long-term could change their thinking on a trade. 

If they do seriously consider a trade anytime in the near future, here are four potential suitors and what it might take for each team to acquire Bailey. 

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Projecting Cincinnati Reds’ 5-Man Rotation for 2014

Pitching has been the strength of the Cincinnati Reds the past few seasons, and stability in the rotation is the reason that the club is going to continue to contend.

Cincinnati’s rotation finished near the top of the majors in most of the major categories. Despite pitching in Great American Ball Park, the staff has found a way to get the job done.

There isn’t much to guess about when it comes to what the Reds rotation will look like in 2014. 

Whether or not the club was going to bring back Bronson Arroyo was the only question about the rotation heading into the offseason. It looks like the organization has made its decision, so keep reading to see what that decision is.

Starting pitching can win a championship, so let’s see who will be a part of the Cincinnati rotation in the upcoming season.


*All stats are via MLB.com.

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Is Homer Bailey’s Second No-Hitter Proof He’s an Elite Pitcher in MLB?

Homer Bailey is basically Nolan Ryan.

OK, maybe that’s a bit of a stretch. But the Cincinnati Reds right-hander and the Ryan Express now have something pretty cool in common, and it also serves as clarification for a certain something else: the fact that Bailey is a lot better than you might think he is.

If you missed it, Bailey held the San Francisco Giants hitless on Tuesday night at Great American Ballpark. They call that a “no-hitter” in the industry, and they’re pretty rare.

Well, unless you’re Bailey. He now has two no-hitters to his name, and the first one he pitched last September 28 against the Pittsburgh Pirates also happens to be the last no-hitter Major League Baseball had seen before Bailey broke out another on Tuesday night.

That’s where the Ryan connection comes from. ESPN Stats & Info will tell you all about it: 

So there’s that, and here’s the final out of the proceedings in case you missed it:

There are some similarities between Bailey’s no-hitter against the Pirates and his no-hitter against the Giants. Both were high-strikeout games, as he fanned 10 in his no-no against the Pirates and nine in his no-no against the Giants. Both times, Bailey did it by relying heavily on his fastball. 

Per Brooks Baseball, 73 of Bailey’s 115 pitches (63.5 percent) against the Pirates were four-seam fastballs. They averaged 91.64 miles per hour.

Against the Giants, Bailey threw four-seamers for 68 of his 109 pitches (62.4 percent). What was different this time around is that his hard stuff had a little more giddy-up, as Brooks Baseball has the average velocity for it down at 95.32 miles per hour.

Bailey was definitely busting out the big velocity in the later innings against the Giants. He was sitting at 95 easily, and I recall seeing a couple 97s as well. You could tell that he was thinking something along the lines of, “I’m going to get this done because I am freaking awesome.”

And you know what? Bailey is just that.

I wonder if there might still be a sentiment in some circles that Bailey is just another former top prospect who hasn’t turned into anything special. That’s indeed the way things were looking for a while, as he racked up a mere 4.47 ERA between 2009 and 2011 and had a 4.24 ERA at the end of August last year in his first full MLB season.

But ever since then…

In Bailey’s last seven regular season starts of 2012, he went 3-1 and compiled a 1.85 ERA over 48.2 innings. Mixed in was the no-hitter against the Pirates, but he also had three other starts in which he logged at least seven innings and allowed no more than one earned run.

Bailey kept it up against the Giants in the postseason, allowing only one earned run on one hit in seven innings in his lone start in the NLDS.

Bailey has now made 17 starts in 2013, in which he has a 3.57 ERA. But if we take the 17 starts he’s made this season and add them to the eight starts he made after the calendar turned to September last year…

GS IP ERA K/9 BB/9 K/BB H/9 HR/9
 25  166.2  2.98  9.15  1.95  4.69  6.50  0.60

If we were to entertain the notion that these were Bailey’s full-season numbers for 2013, then his National League ranks would be:

  • Tied for 14th in ERA
  • 5th in K/9
  • 13th in BB/9
  • 8th in K/BB
  • 7th in H/9
  • 12th in HR/9

In other words, he’d be up there among the best the Senior Circuit has to offer. 

The truth is that it was already possible to make that argument even before Bailey no-hit the Giants. He may have started the day with a relatively unspectacular 3.88 ERA, but the ERA estimators all disagreed with that number.

Per FanGraphs, Bailey’s FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching) stood at 2.77. That ranked fifth among Senior Circuit hurlers. His xFIP (Expected Fielding Independent Pitching) stood at 2.99, which ranked third in the National League. He had a 3.13 SIERA (Skill-Interactive ERA) that ranked fourth.

As far as these handy-dandy statistics were concerned, Bailey deserved a lot better than his 3.88 ERA. Typically, what that means is that the pitcher in question has been pitching like an ace and just getting unlucky. The general indication is that it may just be a matter of time before said ace-like pitcher starts seeing results.

Sound like anybody you know who did something kinda amazing on Tuesday night?

There’s still a lot of season left in 2013. A good rough guess is that Bailey has 17 starts left in him before now and the end, and he’s probably going to be making some more in October given the strength of the ballclub around him.

You’re not going to want to miss many of these starts. Bailey might not have any more no-hitters in him, but there’s no denying what he’s become since something clicked for him last September.

The guy’s an ace.


Note: Stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com unless otherwise noted.


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