2009 Reds / Homer Bailey / Minors

The Homer Bailey Dilemma

So Homer Bailey pitched very well again yesterday: 6 innings, 4 hits, 2 runs, 1 walk…and 8 strikeouts. Thom Brennaman said it’s the best he’s ever seen Bailey throw.

For the spring, Bailey finishes with a 2.61 ERA, having struck out 20 batters while walking only 4. That’s insane.

How can this guy start at AAA?

26 thoughts on “The Homer Bailey Dilemma

  1. Have to be careful about getting too excited over Spring Training stats but I agree that Homer looks good. I’ve always said he should get the 5th spot over Owings. By the end of the year, I think he’ll be in the rotation for sure.

    Remember when we tried to trade him for Jermaine Dye?

  2. Remember how many people were willing to give up on a 22-23 year old kid?

    I still think he starts the year in AAA, victim of Masset’s options issue.

  3. There are a million Nick Masset’s out there. To leave Home in the minors in deference to Masset would be criminal. That said, Homer’s fly ball to ground ball ratio yesterday was 6/1. Has he always been this fly ball prone or was it an anomoly? That certainly wouldn’t help at GABP.

  4. He’ll be in the rotation at some point this year, so everybody needs to relax. Let him take the mound every fifth day in Louisville to stay sharp. Long relief guys don’t as much regular work as the back end of the bull pen.

  5. Homer’s been great. He’s done what he’s supposed to do. My favorite number is the four walks in 20 innings. However, my feeling is that even if he starts in Triple A and Masset stays with the team, the Reds aren’t going to be losing games because it’s Masset and not Bailey. They’re going to be losing because the score was 3-1 and guys got picked off base and caught stealing.

  6. Masset simply isn’t that good. Look up not only his major league numbers but also his minor league numbers. I would not bend over backwards to keep him at all.

  7. I don’t think Homer would get enough work in as the long man in the pen. Either put Arroyo on the DL to build strength and start with both of the guys in the rotation or send Homer to AAA to get his work in. If Owings fails as the starter bring Homer up put Owings in the pen and release Masset. If the starting pitching is as good as we think it will be, the long man will not get much work in regardless.

  8. I’d like to give Owings the chance first. But Bailey has earned a spot on the 25 man, so Masset must go. He is the weakest link, Goodbye!

  9. @brublejr.. Even the best of pitchers have an off day every couple of starts. How nice would it be to have better insurance in the pen to pick up the starter before the game gets out of hand. Like Sparky did, we can give a quicker hook when the starter is struggling if you know you have someone reliable to step in.

  10. As good as Homer has been, I think Owings has been great, too. I think Owings has won the spot. Having to decide between to very good pitchers for the 5th spot in the rotation is a good situation to be in, but it still sucks. I would like to see Homer make the roster and see Masset get the boot. He’s a clown. However, I don’t think its a good idea to keep him from getting regular work. Down in AAA he would mop up, but I think he’s already getting the confidence he needs at the major league level. It just stinks to reward his great ST with a trip back down to Louisville.

  11. The big underlying question is whether it best serves the Reds and Homer Bailey or Micah Owings (whoever isn’t the #5 starter) to pitch long-relief in the bullpen or to take a start every 5th day in AAA.

    I don’t have a strong opinion either way, and I can see the arguments made for both sides. I’m actually just happy that THIS is the issue the Reds have and not whether they can find lightning in a bottle at the end of the rotation with Jimmy Anderson or Jeff Austin.

  12. Masset is us hoping against reality that the beans we traded for the cow are magical, and they’re not, they’re just beans, no giant’s castle and treasure, just ordinary beans. With some salt and pepper, maybe some other seasoning, they might make a decent meal in really hard times. These aren’t hard times for Reds pitching.

    I was looking at Bailey’s numbers this morning, and though his ERA is higher than Owings, I was really stunned to see how much better he’s been in all the categories you would think him worse. WHIP, K/BB-9, GO/AO, etc.– I’d sort of gotten the sense from reading game reports that Bailey has been very good, but Owings awesome (the fact that Bailey hasn’t won might account for that), and it looks like Bailey has, quite under the radar been the more solid pitcher– he even hit like Owings yesterday!

    Looking at their lines, I’m really very much more impressed with Bailey– based on spring, they’re both very, very good, but I don’t think anyone has ever expected Owings to be a #1 starter, he just doesn’t have the stuff, which doesn’t mean he’s going to be bad, I just think Bailey has the stuff to maintain something like these stats this over a year or career (maybe not this year, but eventually). The reasonable expectation is for a 3.5 ERA in great years with Owings, and much better with Bailey. He’s doing everything everyone said he had to learn to do, he’s limited his walks, he doesn’t get shaken when he doesn’t have his best stuff, he limits damage, above all he’s using his head, which he didn’t do much before.

    I personally think Arroyo would be the most effective out of the bullpen– he’s rubber armed, he’s done it with Boston, but then again, given his contract, that will never happen. I know there’s a pride thing with Masset, we gave up Ken Griffey Jr. for him, but then again, we gave up 2008 Ken Griffey Jr. for him and got pretty much a fair return– Griffey was not great anymore, and he wasn’t going to be back this year. With 2008 KGjr, we gave up a guy whose upside wasn’t so much anymore, and Masset’s never really was. We did get a pretty decent haul for Dunn, so figure it sort of evens out– Arizona got fleeced, we came out even on Griffey, we still did pretty well in trades for a change, all told. At least we’re not getting over-hyped Yankee prospects anymore for our best players. Maybe we’ll get lucky and nobody else will think Masset’s beans are magical either and he’ll safely land in AAA.

  13. “There are a million Nick Masset’s out there.”

    Pitching shouldn’t be such a hot commodity then.

  14. I actually think Owings deserves it right now.
    Homer needs to prove himself in AAA first because his stats there last year weren’t that impressive.

  15. If this organization ever wants to win much of anything, then they need to stop keeping sub-par players just because of options. Let Massett go if that’s the roster spot that Homer would get. Right now the bullpen is a question mark in my mind with two 40 year olds, Coco “Batting Practice” Cordero, and Bill Bray never really being healthy. They need to keep the best 25, not the 25 that don’t have options.

  16. Greg D hit the nail on the head. I do not think Massett is the issue, the issue is whether Homer is better off guaranteed innings in AAA or getting somewhat eratic innings but MLB experience as the long guy out of the pen. If the Reds decide it is the latter (and I could be convinced either way on which is better) then I think Massett is gone.

  17. If you value the last 2 weeks of ST more than the other 4 like I do, Homer deserves it. He mowed down the opening day Astros lineup yesterday, one that can hit pretty darn well. Good problem to have. I’m concerned Homer will have a Groundhog Day like experience if he goes back down.

  18. Bailey should get the spot over Owings. More upside? Yes. Better spring? Yes. Better suited to start versus be in the bullpen? Yes. Proven everything he can in AAA? Yes (I don’t care about his AAA numbers being iffy last year, dude was pitching on a bum knee and his issue in AAA was control, not stuff… the control is here this year).

  19. We are ignoring the obvious, which is by the end of the season, each guy will probably have at least 15 starts.

  20. True, David, good point.

    There’s always so much debate about the 5-man rotation, and the 8-man lineup, at this time of year, as if they’re rigid, unchanging things.

    In truth, they can change almost daily throughout the season – literally.

    Even good teams will have 7 to 10 different guys get a start (starting pitching, I mean) before the year is over.

  21. I really don’t think Owings has shown all his potential either. He may not be an ace, but I think he will be a solid #3-4 type guy. If Owings were an everyday player his bat would land him in the sixth spot more than likely. While we always must look at pitching lines, that has to be figured into the equation. The guy can flat out hit. Would he be more useful to start or use in long relief? Since we need some bench help I think it should be considered.

  22. Owings is more valuable in the pen than Homer would be. He can go in pitch 2-3+ innings and add some pop to the lineup at the same time. If you had a situation with the bases loaded and any RP up other than Owings you would definately pinch hit and waste that pitcher for the rest of the game. Owings can hit in any siutation and may have just as much pop or more-so than any bench player. If they are both in Cincy, I vote Homer #5, Owings pen.

  23. I really have a hunch they might be thinking Homer for the 5th starter and Owings in the pen.

  24. I personally think that we should put Owings in the #5 spot in the rotation and put Bailey in AAA until we need him, which probably wouldn’t be that far away.

    I’m OK with Bailey making the rotation given his spring also, but I prefer Owings at this point. Honestly, though, as someone commented above, it doesn’t matter that much; whoever isn’t in the rotation will be at some point during the season.

  25. The Reds cannot keep Masset. I almost think he could pass through waivers as horrid as he has been this spring. I could see middle relief being a great way for Bailey to continue his momentum. When one of the starters goes down, he’ll be ready.

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