Spring Training

Wait (Homer), weight (Bruce) and more weight (you)

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Photo: The Enquirer/Gary Landers

Today’s the day all players must report to the Reds’ spring training in Goodyear. Billy Hamilton has already stolen eight bases. Who-hoo!

Redleg Nation is still anxiously waiting for the Reds to finalize the outstanding issues that are holding up the much-rumored deal with Homer Bailey. Jon Heyman reports this morning the contract will be for more than $100 million with a seventh year option. Keep in mind that the discussion of the number of years includes 2014, so the “six-year” contract is really a five-year extension. Heyman also reports the parties have worked out a one-year deal if necessary that will avoid the tomorrow’s scheduled arbitration hearing.

According to this story by Mark Sheldon, the affable Jay Bruce is less concerned with his weight this spring than he is with feeling good. Bruce weighs about the same now as he did at the end of the 2013 season.

Ryan Ludwick is feeling healthy again. He also wonders why anyone thought he’d be back to full strength last year. (Stupid line-up and roster makers.)

John Fay reports that Henry Rodriguez is in Goodyear taking a physical. Must have cleared waivers and remains with the Reds.

Another power ranking has the Cardinals #1 going into the season. The Reds are ranked #10.

Discussion Question for Today: Should Bryan Price name a captain, and if so, who?

Concluding with delicious news, LaRosa’s has tweeted they’re continuing their offer of free pizza (one free topping) when Reds pitchers throw eleven strikeouts in a home game, which happened 22 times last season.

31 thoughts on “Wait (Homer), weight (Bruce) and more weight (you)

  1. LaRosa’s has tweeted they’re continuing their offer of free pizza (one free topping) when Reds pitchers throw eleven strikeouts in a home game…

    What an absolutely brilliant promotion! This has the monetary contributions based on counting stats beat all to heck as far as fan involvement and recognition.

    Henry Rodriguez is in Goodyear taking a physical. Must have cleared waivers and remains with the Reds.

    That’s GREAT news as far as the Old Cossack is concerned. I believe HenRod is in line for a monster year at AAA this season and will (finally) be in the show with the Reds or someone else in 2015.

  2. “I think a lot of people don’t understand that you come off of surgery, you rehab for four months, you’re not going to be as strong as you are the following year,” Ludwick said. “I kept telling people around me that they don’t understand that. I’ve been through surgeries and you’re never back feeling good until a year post-op.”

    I’ve read and reread the quotes from Ludwick regarding his recovery and performance from last season. The Old Cossack may be completely off base, but every time I read them, I come away with the impression that Ludwick is taking a back-handed shot at the decision makers from last season.

  3. This contract is looking less good now. How’d it do from essentially a 5yr at $18m per extension to a 5yr at $20m per extension? I feel like this is already exiting “didn’t get a hometown/early extension discount” territory and creeping into overpaying territory.

    Bailey has a career 4.25 ERA, never had an ERA under 3.49, has zero All-Star appearances, never gotten a single Cy Young vote, never gotten a single MVP vote, yet he’s going to get a $20m/yr extension?

    Last year Bailey allowed 4 or more runs in 11 of his 32 starts. That means over a third of the time last season, he allowed 4 or more runs. ….$20m/yr….

    • @ToddAlmighty: I’d love it if I am proved wrong and Bailey becomes a Cy Young winner and the contract ends up being amazing. Yet I just can’t help but feel the Reds will end up regretting it big time.

      • @ToddAlmighty: I am astonished that the Reds are going to extend Bailey (big IF inserted here…) for $100MM, but that doesn’t make it a bad extension, just expensive. The comps you provided (Arroyo, Garza & Jimenez) are simply not valid comps.

        Neither Garza nor Jimenez has pitched 200+ innings since 2010 (Garza came close in 2011 at 198). Both Garza and Jimenez are entering their age 30 season. Arroyo is entering his age 36 season, well past his prime and approaching the end of his career.

        Bailey has pitched 200+ innings for the past 2 seasons and increased his innings pitched every season over the past 4 seasons.

        Over the past 3 seasons for Garza, the SO/9 are decreasing, HR/9 are increasing, H/9 are increasing, ERA+ (meh) is increasing and SO/BB are fluctuating around 3.13.

        Over the past 3 seasons for Jimenez, the SO/9 are fluctuating around 8.5, HR/9 are fluctuating around 1.0, H/9 are fluctuating around 8.9, ERA+ (meh) is fluctuating around 90 and SO/BB are fluctuating around 2.04.

        Over the past 3 seasons for Bailey, the SO/9 are INCREASING, HR/9 are DECREASING, H/9 are DECREASING, ERA+ (meh) is INCREASING and SO/BB are INCREASING.

        Bailey is just entering his peak performance seasons while Garz and Jimenez are already peaking or entering their declining performance seasons.

        As Bill mentioned, the only reason Bailey’s career performance isn’t reflective of his recent performance was that he was rushed to the major leagues well before he was ready.
        Both Garza and Jimenez had rebound seasons in 2013 after 2 very mediocre seasons, but neither pitched as well as Bailey in 2013.

    • @ToddAlmighty: The increase from the reported $18MM per on a 5 year extension involves the additional option and option buyout. The cost of the buyout is figured into the overall cost of the extension, but if the buyout is excercised (almost certainly a club option or vesting option), an addition season at $18MM is tacked on.

      • @Shchi Cossack: $18m/yr was already an awful lot when Arroyo signs for 2yr/$23.5m, Matt Garza signs for 4yr/$50m, Ubaldo Jimenez signed a 4yr/$50m deal, and Ervin Santana is still available looking for roughly the same after coming off a 211 inning, 3.24 ERA season… and none of those guys were still arbitration eligible. Yet Bailey is looking at 6yr/$110? Too much. Way too much.

        • @ToddAlmighty: I’m sort of in agreement as well. Santana has had multiple 200IP seasons, albeit he’s a little older. But yeah, to get him for less than half the price really makes you scratch your head.

    • @ToddAlmighty: Bailey’s career ERA is high b/c he was rushed to the majors. In 2013, in Bailey’s worst 5 starts, his ERA was 9.58 (by comparison, Latos’ was 7.85, Leake 11.25, Arroyo 11.85; in their best 5 starts, all were incredibly good. But in Bailey’s middle 20 starts, his ERA was 2.96 (Latos: 2.97, Leake 2.99, Arroyo 3.23).

      Fox Sports Ohio statistician Joel Luckhaupt says that Bailey is only the fourth Reds pitcher in history to increase his innings pitched in three consecutive years and lower his ERA in each of those three seasons. Those other three are Jim Maloney, Aaron Harang and Whitey Moore.

      Even more impressive in what Luckhaupt said is this: If Bailey increases his innings pitched and lowers his ERA for a fourth straight season, he’ll be only the third pitcher in major league history to do it.

      I’m not sure what else you want out of Homer, he’s a pitcher coming into his prime years and seeming to be improving every year. If the Reds are going to spend this kind of money on a pitcher, he (and Latos) seem like the kind of guys you’d want to spend it on.

  4. No, no, no. Somebody got the memo wrong. Clearly Jay Bruce is in the best shape of his life, worked out harder than ever, and is poised to capitalize on his off season hard work. That’s how spring works. :)

  5. I love that LaRosa’s is back on board. They got a ton of good publicity last year with the promotion. I only wish they would have changed it to 11 strikeouts AND a Reds win. I love the fact that the fans got really involved as the K number increased, but it would be nice to see them that hyped up about winning the game as well. I know there were a couple times that the Reds got to 11 Ks and still didn’t pull out the W.

    I’m not sure a team captain is necessary. In most cases, teams have a captain whether he is named as such or not. I guess the argument would be that the Reds did seem to lack leadership last year, but I believe that was a by-product of the manager’s style. Hopefully, we have a leader, rather than a buddy, as manager now which should lessen the need for a named captain.

  6. Todd, wouldn’t some of that contract be for the 7th year or buy out? Like maybe 5.0 mil?

    Assume 90 mil for 5 years, 9 mil for this year and a 5 mil buyout, that is 104ish mil for 6.5 years.

    or maybe the buyout is 10 mil making the contract 110, plus another 11-12 mil to exercise the option in year 7

    I see no flags here, his ERA glide path moves down each year and his innings and Strike Outs go up.

    181 hits in 2009 innings last year is outstanding.

    Now work on the running game Homer

  7. I’m just glad it’s spring. I feel like I’m in the best writing shape of my life. I’ve really worked hard this off-season and I’m excited to be with my old team mates and thrilled with the new ones we have on board. We have a great energy here.

    I’m not concerned about my individual game thread counts, those will come. I’m just wanting to do whatever it takes to help RLN win a championship. Being competitive in the world of blogs isn’t enough anymore. We’ve got to bring this one home for the fans, for our team mates, for the ether net.

    To win, we have to get back to the fundamentals: spell check; quotes and replys; proper use of sarcasm that can show up correctly in writing.

    I’m just happy to be here, and hope I can help the team.

  8. What are the odds Phillips pops off during spring training? I’m not looking forward to that mini-drama.

    • @Sultan of Swaff: Zero

      New sheriff in town. Brandon will be good Brandon all spring. Team guy. loads of smiles

      I think Price can reach him.

      He has reached Cueto, Bailey and Latos who were all challenges. Jury still out on Chapman

      5 years ago Johnny was a hothead. 4 years ago Bailey was a hothead. 3 years ago Latos was a hothead.

      Someone has reached out to each of them, channeled their competitiveness and turned them into aces

  9. Comparing this deal to some other free agent signings this offseason (source: http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/transactions/free-agents/pitchers):

    Ubaldo Jimenez (BAL): 30 years old, $48M, 4 years, $12M per year
    Matt Garza (MIL): 30 years old, $50M, 4 years, $12.5M per year
    Masahiro Tanaka (NYY): 25 years old, $155M, 7 years, $22.1M per year
    AJ Burnett (PHI): 37 years old, $16M, 1 year, $16M per year
    Ricky Nolasco (MIN): 31 years old, $49M, 4 yeas, $12.25M per year
    Hiroki Kuroda (NYY): 39 years old, $16M, 1 year, $16M per year
    Homer Bailey (CIN): 27 years old, $105M, 6 years, $17.5M per year

    I think the short of it is that the going rate for multi-year deals for older guys with better-than-average stuff (Nolasco, Jimenez, Garza) is ~$12M. One year deals for older pitchers (Burnett, Kuroda) are in the $16M neighborhood. I like to think that (1) Bailey’s got better stuff than the majority of those guys and (2) his ceiling, given his age, is much higher. In the context of those deals, I don’t see this deal as terribly bad.

    Also, Matt Cain got $112.5M for a 5 year deal a couple years ago (when Cain was 27), and while I think Bailey’s ceiling is slightly below Cain’s, this deal looks fair in comparison.

    • @the brain: Matt Cain got his extension before the 2012 season, when he had just finished putting up:
      -3 straight seasons with an ERA lower than Bailey’s ever had.
      -5 straight season of 200+ innings.
      -2 All-Stars
      -2 Top-12 Cy Young finishes
      -5 straight years of WAR higher than Bailey’s ever had in his career

      I don’t think the two are really comparable. If anything, that comparison reinforces my belief that Bailey got way overpaid, which means now in order to keep Latos they’ll have to WAAAAAY overpay him.

  10. I see no need for the Reds to have a captain. Bryan Price is the leader of this team. End of discussion. That bully, bully, rah, rah crap like we would hear about Greg Vaughn is so overblown. Jack McKeon was the leader of that club.

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