Homer Bailey ticketed to minors?


Hal McCoy believes Bailey’s headed to the minors:

Even before Bailey, scheduled for four innings, pitched 3 1/3 innings and gave up six runs and seven hits (76 pitches, 46 strikes), a club official told the Dayton Daily News that Bailey is minor-league material.

He said Bailey needs to accumulate innings, develop his off-speed pitches, work to become more efficient (fewer balls, more strikes) and work on his attitude.

This makes me wonder if the rumors about the Reds being concerned about Bailey’s progress or abilities are true. One the one hand, they refused to trade Bailey over the off-season (or couldn’t find the right deal), but on the other…these rumors about Bailey’s coachability and progress have been around for a little while now and they don’t seem to be going away.

In his own defense, Bailey pointed out that he has started against the New York Yankees and against the Red Sox twice, all three games on the road and against the regular lineups.

Bailey has a point here. It’s a lot easier to look good pitching against Pittsburgh (or some other team’s soon to be minor leaguers) than it is against starters on teams that will win close to 100 games this season.

In another article, McCoy says:

It is looking more and more as if Bailey might not be in the season-opening rotation, that he might start the season at Class AAA Louisville. As one club insider said, “He’ll go pitch some innings, learn to throw more strikes, sharpen his pitches and adjust his attitude.”

I think this is probably the same quote that is used above, just reworded…

“He couldn’t close the door when he had the chance,” said Reds manager Dusty Baker, not realizing it is difficult to close a revolving door. “It was his pitch count again. We wanted five innings of 70 pitches, but he passed that after 3 1/3.”

Pitch count was what got him against the Yankees on TV Monday night also. His “stuff” didn’t appear to be the problem, but he couldn’t finish off hitters when he got ahead.

Bailey on his “attitude”:

On this day, before he pitched and nearly alone in the room, Bailey was an affable young man, even offering an off-color joke at which he laughed heartily at the punch line.

So why is he sometimes gruff with the media?

“I don’t like answering questions,” he said. “It’s all perception. What some people perceive one way, I or somebody else might perceive in a different manner,” said the 21-year-old right-hander and No. 1 draft pick in 2004.

An example?

“Some people might say that Homer Bailey is struggling this spring,” he said. “My perception? This is my third straight. I’ve faced the Boston Red Sox, the New York Yankees and the Red Sox again, all in their ballpark where they played their regulars.”

Bailey isn’t complaining, just directing people to the facts. In fact, he said he likes it.

“This is helpful to me if I’m pitching with the big team at the time,” he said. “We play both the Yankees and Red Sox (in interleague) this year. I can make mistakes to their big hitters right now, and it doesn’t cost the team, plus I learn what not to throw them the next time I face them.”

I have less concern about Bailey’s abilities than I do about the talk about his attitude. In my opinion, for a young player to show signs of being an attitude problem both within the organization and in dealing with the press shows that he doesn’t understand what it will take to make him an effective major leaguer or what will make him popular where he plays.

I would never claim to know enough to lecture someone on what it takes to be an effective pitcher in the major leagues, but I would tell him that if he wants to be a popular player in Cincinnati, showing a superior attitude and being difficult to the press will not make you popular in this town. Look at the players that have been huge fan favorites (Rose, Bench, Sabo, Morris, Casey, and now Phillips), many times their fan friendly attitude meant more than their abilities.


  1. Y-City Jim says:

    I agree that Homer needs some time at Louisville so he can learn to hit the strike zone. A one walk per two innings ratio isn’t going to get it done at this level.

    Also, Dusty’s offense stinks!

  2. doug says:

    Bailey will be fine once he gets into the swing of things. His mechanics aren’t all the way there right now. He has shown flashes of why he is thought of how he is (see where he struck out Manny and Ortiz back to back).

    Bailey seems to be on the bad side of two guys in the media right now (Brantley and Fay) and well, we are going to hear about it from both of them.

    Send him to Louisville, get him to keep his mechanics clean and the results will take care of themselves. Right now he is out there ‘getting his work in’ to be honest. The game the other day, he threw 90% cut fastballs as opposed to his 4 seam fastball.

    We will see, but I am putting my money on Bailey will be just fine.

  3. Aaron B. says:

    There can be no arguing that his control simply isn’t there. He appears to have an issue with his plant foot and balls sailing on him. Getting your work in is fine and dandy but he knew going in he was competing for a spot and needed to impress and pitch as if it meant something. He is not in the same situation as Harang or Arroyo where he is just getting in shape. If that’s the case he will be getting into shape in Louisville. He is only 21 I am not worried about it, but it sounds from his quotes like he still thinks he should be in the mix for the starting rotation and witht he way Volquez and Cueto and even Fogg have stepped up that isn’t very likely.

  4. Mr. Redlegs says:

    Bailey’s attitude has been amplified by his own comments, by some of his teammates, by his manager and yes, by the media standing in front of them.

    Then, he makes the comment about facing the Yankees and Red Sox. Well, they are MLB teams and you don’t get many free nights when you play an opponent. It’s not like he can choose the Pirates, Nationals, Orioles, devil rays, Royals and Rangers for when he wants to pitch.

    Fact is, Cueto and Voltron went to winter ball, came into camp fit, ready and determined. Bailey? His offseason consisted of bow-hunting and watching video of last year’s starts.

    He’s charted the path he’s currently on, with respect to his career, attitude and relationship with the local media, and there’s no one else to blame.

  5. Deaner says:

    He’s been brutal!

    Like Aaron B., I’m not worried about it. It seems like Volquez, Cueto, and Fogg are exceeding expectations. I’m not sold on Fogg, however, until I see him successfully keep the ball inside GABP.

  6. Bill says:

    But Doug, these articles were written by McCoy (not Fay) and the quote is from someone in the Reds organization. I’m very concerned about his attitude.

  7. doug says:

    We don’t know when those quotes were from. From what I have picked up on this year is that Baker says he has been all ears and that he was talking with Mario Soto during his games.

    One thing that a scout I know mentioned was that maybe Bailey was ‘uncoachable’ in the minors because the Reds have bad pitching coaches in the minors and Bailey knows BS when he sees it.

  8. Chris says:

    I think Bailey is sometimes chippy with the beat writers, and pedictably, they’re taking shots right back to put the rookie in his place.

    McCoy is connecting the dots between “smart-ass to the press” and “unresponsive to the coaches,” which may, or may not be true, and probably isn’t fair.

  9. Shawn says:

    Bill, I find it interesting that you put Bench on your list of fan favorites, when he was often aloof to fans and the press. Fortunately, he had the garrulous Rose, Perez, and later Morgan to cover for him during his tenure.

  10. John says:

    That’s what I want. Beat writers taking shots at one of the most promising pitching prospects this organization has seen since Tom Browning, and cultivating this perception that he has an attitude.

    I know, let’s make Bailey feel unwelcome and wreck his confidence. Then we can give up on him and trade him for next to nothing and watch him get his act together with another team. Then we can make cracks about how he couldn’t hack it in Cincinnati. Awesome.

  11. GregD says:

    This doesn’t worry me. Fay & company need to stick to reporting the news instead of trying to create the news. It’s been worse with them being forced into blogosphere, IMHO. Just the facts, man, just the facts.

    I’m more concerned about the arms of Cueto and Volquez, if Fay’s latest blog post is true. I didn’t realize they played winter ball. Let’s just hope they continue to be on pitch counts as the season wears on. I vote for not skipping the 5th starter in April so that everyone gets an extra day’s rest on the off days.

  12. Ben says:

    It’s a shame that this kid could have brought us Eric Bedard, Bailey will be a bust and with the other youngsters we have he will be the 3rd starter if he even makes it. He’s CJ Nitkowski and Scott Scudder all over again, all the stuff and promise but no brains. He will bust and the Reds will kick themselves for not trading him when his value was highest.

  13. Bill says:

    You are all assuming that this is a creation of Fay, McCoy, etc. I don’t see what they have to gain by creating this controversy. If Bailey succeeds, they look bad and have a player that won’t deal with them. I have as many problems with the media as anyone, but I’ve heard it from people that aren’t in the media about Bailey’s attitude. It’s a concern to me.

  14. Bill says:

    Shawn…concerning Bench. You may be right.

    I’ve heard those stories about Bench also, but I had a couple of dealings with him when I was a kid (and he was a player) and he was very nice.

    I’ve had a couple more since he’s been retired and he was nice then also. Who knows?

  15. Shawn says:

    And I say that about Bench, when he is my all-time favoritest player. But, the stories are there. I certainly have no personal quarrel with him.

  16. Jared says:

    Who wants to hear excuses from a pitcher? If guys are hitting him, he should say in his interview “I need to keep my pitches down” or whatever. Bailey needs to be humble and not blame what happens on circumstance.

    That said, he’s only 21 years old. I’m getting the impression that sending him to Louisville is going to make him bitter, so you’re kind of banking on him learning to get over it.

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