The Yankees have asked the Reds about Homer Bailey, tweets Dan Barbarisi, one of the Yankee beat writers. Several other writers have speculated that Brett Gardner would be a possible trade match. Gardner plays CF and has experience leading off, so superficially, he’s a good fit for the Reds.

The simplicity of the deal may makes it tempting. Gardner and Bailey each have one year remaining before reaching free agency. Gardner “solves” the lead-off problem. He also can play CF for a year while Billy Hamilton races up his learning curve.

Tempting, but terrible. No way you trade Homer Bailey for Brett Gardner.

First of all, Gardner’s numbers — he will turn 31 during next season — are trending in the wrong direction. Throw out his 37 plate appearances in 2012 and you have this trend line for his walk-rate: 2010 – 13.9%, 2011 – 10.2%, 2013 – 8.5%. That’s an alarming decline. His strikeout rate in 2013 (20.9%) was his highest for any full season. He stole half as many bases in 2013 (24) as he did in 2011 and 2010.

Those who favor the trade would undoubtedly point to Gardner’s OBP (career: .352), but there are similar warning signs for that. His .344 OBP last year was aided by a career-high .342 BABIP. Take twenty points off of that to bring it back in line with his career BABIP and factor in the declining walk-rate, and suddenly Gardner’s OBP is more dull than shiny. His primary asset — speed — is one that declines rapidly with age. There aren’t too many 31-year-old base stealing threats. There’s even a decent chance that Billy Hamilton could produce a .325 OBP with even greater speed and better defense.

Homer Bailey’s career, on the other hand, is moving upward. He ranks in the top 20-25 starters in baseball when looking at advanced metrics. Rising K/9, falling BB/9. He’s proven himself to be a big-game pitcher, one of two aces on the Reds staff last year. He has a good chance of earning over 4.0 WAR this year at the bargain salary of $9 million. Homer Bailey, like Shin-Soo Choo last year, is far too valuable and irreplaceable to trade him, even if he walks at the end of the year.

I’m OK with Gardner playing CF and leading off for the Reds. He has a little pop in his bat and is a good defensive player. But not at the cost of Homer Bailey. You don’t trade a year of a 27-year-old starting pitcher on the upswing for a 30-year-old outfielder on the decline. Quality, dominant starting pitching is far more valuable than what Gardner offers.

But I’m worried that the Reds feel boxed in and desperate. Their plans to acquire (or reacquire) a centerfielder and/or leadoff hitter have foundered so far. Walt Jocketty has shown a worrying blind spot for “the stolen base guy.” Remember this: “He fills two significant needs for our ball club, a speed base-stealing threat at the top of the order and superior defense in center field,” Walt Jocketty once said of Willy Taveras. And this — the Reds almost traded for Ben Revere instead of Shin-Soo Choo last year.

Gardner is no Taveras or Revere, but he’s not completely dissimilar, either. And not at the cost of Homer Bailey’s 27/28-year-old season.

My dread is that later this week, we’ll hear this: “We really hated to trade Homer Bailey. But we had to do something to address our needs and that had proven difficult. Gardner’s speed will create havoc on the bases and fill our needs for a lead-off hitter who can get on base and play center field.”

Steve grew up in Cincinnati as a die-hard fan of Sparky’s Big Red Machine. After 25 years living outside of Ohio, mostly in Ann Arbor, he returned to the Queen City in 2004. He has resumed a first-person love affair with the Cincinnati Reds and is a season ticket holder at Great American Ball Park. The only place to find Steve’s thoughts of more than 140 characters is Redleg Nation. Follow his tweets @spmancuso.

Join the conversation! 82 Comments

  1. Also, the Rockies beat writer has reported that the Reds and Rockies are in talks to trade Sean Marshall.

    • @rhayex: Just saw that. If the Reds have definitely decided to keep Chapman in the bullpen (ugh) I’d trade Marshall. The Reds seem to be up against a budget constraint and paying Marshall $12 million the next two seasons is something they can’t afford. I like Marshall more than most people and I’d rather trade Broxton ($17 million over two years). But if payroll has become an issue, the bullpen is the area where the Reds have to look.

      • @Steve Mancuso: Exactly. Plus, who knows what the Reds can get for Marshall? They might (emphasis on MIGHT) actually be able to get an upper-level prospect or two for him, in addition to a rental bat of some kind. The problem that I see is that there are multiple relief options on the market; on the other hand, the market is absurd right now and Marshall’s deal is a relative steal for other teams desperate for help.

      • @Steve Mancuso: I’d rather trade Chapman, more upside. Plus, I don’t trade Bailey for Gardner…I’d trade Phillips for Gardner even up.

        • @Bill Lack: I am always on board with trading a position player for a position player, especially if the pitcher being considered is MLB-seasoned. It ain’t like Gardner is the guy we really really really really wanted … basically, he’s all that’s left. I don’t deal a rotation guy for that player.

    • Also, the Rockies beat writer has reported that the Reds and Rockies are in talks to trade Sean Marshall.

      This vexes me. I’m terribly vexed. Unless the Rockies player is CarGo or Tulo, of course.

  2. Who would take Bailey’s place in the rotation? You can’t fill one need by creating another need.

    • @DatFan: It does seem a bit of a stretch, scrapping 20 percent of the starting rotation.

    • @DatFan: That’s my problem with the deal too. That and Bailey is worth more than Gardner in my opinion. Now Chapman for Gardner or BP for Gardner may be another story. Of course assuming things really are patched up between BP and management, I’d be reluctant to move BP as it creates a hole at 2B.

  3. I agree with you, trading Bailey for Gardner is a TERRIBLE trade. BP for Gardner? Better. I think that this is a case of NY writers overvaluing their players. I can’t believe the Reds are even considering it at this point.

  4. “Quality, dominant starting pitching is far more valuable than what Gardner offers”

    There it is. Nope, not gonna consider it. If we have to, wait until the first contender loses an ace to TJ and becomes desperate to make a deal. Shouldn’t be any longer than early May. We can do better for Bailey. No doubt about it.

  5. Don’t do it.

  6. No. And No. Just to be clear. No.

  7. I agree, Steve. I probably wouldn’t do that trade man for man. either. The Yankees would have to include “something else”. So, what would that be “something else”?

  8. I’m wondering if this is any sort of payback for the Yankees’ leaking the Phillips line.

    In addition to the points already mentioned, unless the Reds trade for or add another SP somewhere along the line, the Reds simply don’t have the depth to deal a current member of the rotation for a bat.

    The CF leadoff hitter I wanted was Aoki. $2 mil for a .35 OBP with 20+ SB in a contract year. We have similar pitchers to Will Smith in the system. I have to assume the Brewers were not willing to deal him to Cincinnati, because if they were and Jocketty whiffed, it was a collossal error.

  9. 1. Yes, I’m sure the Yanks inquired about Homer Bailey. Their GM wouldn’t be doing his job if they didn’t.

    2. I’m sure Gardner for Bailey would come up. But you have to assume there is more to it than that. The Yanks farm system looks a lot like the Reds’ system, middle of the pack with the talent concentrated in the lower levels, so they don’t match up well there. Their MLB talent isn’t real enticing either, because of their age. Homer Bailey isn’t as attractive as James Shields given their contract situations, but no way is WJ going to give him away for a rental OF.

    Therefore, a third team would have to step in. There are really too many variables in play here.

    • @CP: Yeah, that’s why this post was misleading. Every rumor I’ve seen about this has been Gardner and prospects for Bailey. Obviously you can’t say anything about the trade if you don’t know what’s in it.

      It’s true that the Yankees farm system isn’t great, but there are guys there I’d certainly take. Bailey for Gardner, Judge, and Severino? I’d do that. One year of Bailey for a solid if not great CF, the Yankees first round pick in 2013, and a 19 yr old power arm?

      Now, would the Yankees do that? Probably not. Point being that if this trade went down, there will be more to it than Gardner for Bailey.

  10. Agree with the others – we trade Bailey (if at all) only at the trade deadline when some team is willing to give up far more than a player of Gardner’s caliber.

    Question for the group…. I keep seeing that Bailey has said publicly that he’s not interested in a long term deal with the Reds. Perhaps I’m misinterpreting, but for the life of me I can’t find where he’s said anything like that. Has anybody else seen or heard that Bailey’s said these things, and can anyone else point me to where he’s said them?

    • @D_Rad_G: I don’t know that he’s ever said anything like that in the media. I think the belief that he wasn’t interested in a long-term deal came from two things:

      1. The Reds have reportedly tried to ink him to a multi-year deal in both of the last two seasons and haven’t been able to make it work. Latos and Cueto, while they didn’t sign huge deals, at least showed a willingness to go for more than one at a time through arbitration.

      2. Bailey has had several issues with Cincy fans and media, and still thinks of Texas as home.

      Put those two together, and people have pretty reasonably guessed that Bailey is looking to go to free agency after next year and hoping to return to Texas.

  11. Barring a setback, Homer is probably good enough to get a qualifying offer after next season (while Gardner is not). Would need to keep that in mind too.

    • Barring a setback, Homer is probably good enough to get a qualifying offer after next season (while Gardner is not).Would need to keep that in mind too.

      Great point. I had not thought of that.

    • @CaptainTonyKW: A guy that puts up 14+ fWAR (15+ bWAR) over his last 3 full seasons is going to get a qualifying offer. The draft picks will cancel themselves out imo.

      I think you guys are underestimating Gardner’s talent, the guy is good and plays really good defense. Bailey’s value is just too high.

    • @CaptainTonyKW:

      That goes without saying. The Reds would have to make HB a QO to have a draft pick compensation tied to it. Look at Arroyo. No QO was extended therfore no extra draft pick for the Reds. The Reds would have to make a QO after the 2014 season if they keep Bailey all of 2014 without him signing an extension. If they want the extra draft pick.

    • @CaptainTonyKW: That’s exactly what I thought. If you keep Homer, he will likely net you a #1 pick next year after you give him a qualifying offer. That means a trade has to be worth a first round pick or better.

  12. Please, no to this trade as a single player swap! This (well-written as always) article did prompt a question: how can a pitcher be a “proven big-game pitcher”, at the same time that hitters have been proven to not be “clutch”, but to ultimately find their career norms in high pressure situations? Or maybe I am misunderstanding the ‘clutchiness’ advanced stats.

    • @Redgoggles: ‘Clutchiness’ for pitchers is different, since pitching coaches can help pitchers.

      But hitting coaches can’t help hitters, so they aren’t ‘clutch.’

      I learned this whether I agreed with it or not.

  13. To add intrigue – MLBTraderumors is reporting that the Reds are pursuing Arroyo.

  14. Rockies-Reds talks continuing. Multiple players could be involved, it is being reported.
    Lets hope the Reds are asking for 3B Nolan Arenado in any discussions. Frazier, I assume, could play 2B if BP is moved in any deal.

  15. Mark Sheldon tweeted this about WJ a few moments ago.
    “Jocketty on Bailey: “We’re not trying to trade him. We’re trying to sign him.”

  16. The Trumbo trade went down. LAA-ARI-CHW involved. Adam Eaton to CHW.
    The Reds were reported to have had discussions with the White Sox. Could this ramp up talks with the Pale Hose now??

  17. SI headline: “Choo too expensive for Rangers” They’ll probably re-sign Cruz. Don’t know if Tigers are willing to pay for Choo, but now with the Yanks signing Beltran, Choo’s options have to be pretty limited for that kind of money.

    • @preach:

      The Tigers signed ex-Jays OF Rajai Davis to a 2-year deal this morning. Would they still go after Choo?
      Boras still wants a Carl Crawford type deal for Choo. I don’t see it happening. Are the D-backs still interested in Choo?

    • @preach: Wow…maybe, just maybe…if things continue to fall just right…

      ARI gets Trumbo (glad the Reds didn’t as anothoer SO king)

      CWS gets Eaton (the Old Cossack wouldn’t mind getting Eaton as part of that trade)

      TEX likely to sign Cruz.

      NYY signed Beltran.

      DET signed Davis.

      Could Choo fall into the Reds open arms?

      • @Shchi Cossack: Looks like most of the likely suspects have addressed their outfield issues. Obviously the Dodgers have a surplus, Yankees also added Ellsbury, not too many other teams with that type of money readily available. I don’t know, but I would guess it’s looking possible right now.

      • @Shchi Cossack: The number I read (mlbtraderumors, which come from everywhere) is Choo would accept an offer from the Reds in the neighborhood of $85 million for 5 years. So the price is falling. Also he wants to stay in Cincy.

        • @pinson343: If Choo will accept $85MM for 5 years, WJ should have locked him up already. If the Reds can’t afford $15MM per for an elite leadoff hitter, then they need to quit playing with the big boys and reevaluate their goals.

          • @Shchi Cossack: Ueah, I know, it’s $17MM per not $15MM per. Arithmetic was never one of the Old Cossack’s strong suts, but the point remains…put up or quit pretending.

  18. to me this is simple, if Bailey has made it clear to the Reds he is going to test the FA market, then I deal him and take the monies and lock up Latos. I have never been a big fan of Bailey and if we have little chance in resigning him after this season, then I will take what Walt can get over say draft picks.

  19. If Arizona is dealing its CF, Eaton, it would seem pretty obvious that they have a replacement in mind.

    • @Johnu1: Eaton played more LF last year which is probably where Trumbo slots in with Goldschmidt in their lineup at 1st.

    • @Johnu1:

      AJ Pollock is ARI’s CF. Eaton played LF and CF.

      • @WVRedlegs: Yeah, that would be correct. I’d forgotten that.

        In any event, just looking over the trannies, seeing guys signing … no major deals …

        except I noted the last Reds transaction, signing Corky Miller to another summer in Lousyville.

        Just found it amusing.

        • @Johnu1: If I am not mistaken, Louisville signed Corky, not the Reds. If the Reds want him on the roster, they would have to buy his contract. So the last Reds transaction would be the Hanigan trade.

  20. Would be a terrible trade. I wouldn’t mind trading Bailey in the right deal, because I don’t think he’ll extend with the Reds, but the deal has to be worth a year of a #3 or #2 starter, plus whatever draft compensation the Reds would get from Bailey denying the qualifying offer and signing elsewhere in FA.

    If Bailey is going to be dealt, it should be as a package for something like Kemp and money.

  21. I guess given the lack of teams interested in Bronson that his agent and Walt have sat down and talked, that might lead the Reds to dealing Homer if they could get Bronson on a two year deal which would allow our young pitchers to mature and join the roster in two seasons.

  22. Homer for Gardner, no way. The rumors have been that when the Reds talk with teams about BP, those teams want Homer added, but back off because Homer won’t agree to sign an extension. Heard that for the Angels and the White Sox.

    Reds and Phils supposedly talked Homer for Dominic Brown, that would interest me.

    • @pinson343: 1 year of Homer for 4 years of Domonic Brown? I would do that. He doesn’t walk as much as I would like, but he had good power last year. Hopefully that means things connected for him. He’s still young enough to be able to use last season to take another leap forward as a better player.

  23. Why are so many people saying/implying that Gardner won’t fetch a Qualifying Offer? He has higher WAR than Jay Bruce since 2010, and he missed almost an entire season in 2012…

    I get that he is a speed guy and is getting older, and the unreliability of the defensive metrics makes comps difficult, but we’re not talking about a huge risk here. He passes all the saber tests. He passes all the eyeball tests. He’s good. He’s going to get a qualifying offer absent a complete collapse/catastrophic injury, same as Homer Bailey.

    No, he isn’t valuable enough to be traded straight up for Homer Bailey, but the qualifying offer stuff is irrelevant.

  24. Really bad idea.

    Bailey plus Hamilton playing are more valuable than Gardner plus Hamilton sitting on the bench. (Tough to steal from there.)

    I see no reason to see why the team should write off retaining Bailey. Most of us wrote of Votto, but here he is.

    I can’t see trading Bailey unless you can fill that rather large gap in the rotation.

    • @justcorbly: Should be Chapman.

    • @justcorbly: The big problem with replacing Bailey in the rotation is that we are already going to use Cingrani there. He has a strong resume but he’s still essentially a rookie. It took Bailey 4 years to get to this point.

      Unless Price has magic, we’re asking him to turn still one more young guy into a serviceable starter. You throw Homer out of the mix, and you have to fix 2 spots.

      I don’t think anybody can say for sure that Chapman is even one of THOSE guys. If not, you have a dependable rotation of Latos, Cueto, Leake, Cingrani and one other … in that order, more or less, in dependability.

      So if trading Bailey for a CF is a good plan, then we had better hope Manna Parra plans to get a few more starts.

      What’s up with that trade with Denver?

  25. Bailey for Gardner is laughable. Phillips for Gardner would be a good trade especially if the Reds could swing Rutledge or DJ LeMahieu from the Rockies for Marshall and whatever.

  26. I love how so many of the responses on this thread are saying no to Gardner for Bailey, when there is no way it would be Bailey for Gardner straight up.

  27. Wow. I’m starting to kinda believe that guy on Twitter more. He’s actually had some ideas of who was available and who wasn’t, before it came out through the media.

    • @rhayex: I dunno. A lot of his recent replies have basically been: “Timeline,” “Again timeline,” and “For the last time timeline”.

      Are we sure this isn’t John Fay in disguise?

      • @walshjp: He said that to the same guy, who kept asking him questions that he’d literally just answered.

        • @rhayex: Actually, maybe you’re Mr. SeeHearTell, because that was pretty clearly a joke and you got uncomfortably defensive. Unless maybe YOU’RE John Fay…

          • @walshjp: Nope. That’s not me. I’m someone else on Twitter entirely. I’ve simply been following this guy and happen to think it’s better than nothing, even if it isn’t true. I don’t know why you’d accuse me of going to the effort of making a fake Twitter account, but no.

            Of course, I have no way of proving it, making this seem defensive, as well. So there’s that.

  28. I hate to say 5th is but I agree with you this guy has pretty much has been especially spot on with Bailey and the rumors with Colorado. ….. I am starting to think there is a major leak although I am now a follower if I was in the brass in the reds organization if he was real he would be FIRED, but I do believe he is blowing smoke where there is some fire

  29. Rumors now have the Reds talking with Bronson’s agent. Sounds like they want to deal Homer to someone. Still, I hope they get more than Gardener.

  30. Reds website says they are not trading Bailey! That means one of the other starters is going if they are going to resign Arroyo. I’d hate for the odd man out to be Cingrani, he could have a sophomore slump, but is left handedness is much needed. I’m assuming Latos is staying put. That leaves Cueto and Leake.

    • @Latos_intollerant: Reds website says Jocketty insisted the “Reds aren’t trying to trade” Bailey. Subtle difference…

    • @Latos_intollerant: Or another option is the Reds are looking to add pitching depth since they have NONE! I can envision the Reds signing Arroyo as the #5 starter and sending Cingrani to the bullpen, but keeping him active and stretched out, especially if the Reds are looking to trade from their bullpen depth. The key to such a scenario is how Price would manage the situation. For his first year as a manager, this is shaping up to be a whopper of a season for Price to cut his teeth.

      • @Shchi Cossack: I like your think, Cossack.
        There’s a lot of maybes with this pitching staff. Bringing Arroyo (or somebody similar) in without trading a pitcher … yeah, I could work with that.

  31. I agree that Bailey for Gardner straight up would be a pretty bad deal for the Reds. Maybe something like Bailey and Phillips for Gardner, Pineda, and Heathcott is better? Pineda’s a wild card because of his injury history, but he’s still interesting. Heathcott is probably the best of a weak batch Yankee prospects. I’m not sure I’d do this particular deal, but it’s a decent start and would get me interested.

  32. If the Reds do re-sign Bronson, then a Bailey for a power hitting CENTER fielder would be all right. Just all right.

    If you don’t plug that spot in the rotation, you gotta get an MLB-ready starter in a trade. Exactly how that works would be kind of interesting.

    Leake might go but I honestly don’t see how the team improves by trading a 5th starter.

  33. Do we really need an article for every bad trade rumor that pops up? The Yankees reached out to the Reds here. Why worry over what may well be nothing?

    Also, what a GM tells a reporter and what actually ends up happening are often very different, so why play the “he said, they said” game? Like a GM is really going to let anyone know what they’re really up to. Talk about ruining leverage.

  34. How about Colby Rasmus? Not saying that Homer has to go but the Blue jays seems to be ready to deal. Much younger that Gardner and could give a bridge to Hamilton or take over left when Ludwick is done.

  35. Yeah I bet the Yanks wish they would get Homer Bailey for Brett Gardner.

    I’m not so sure that would be a good trade for Homer either, if he thinks the Cincy media is prickly, NY isn’t the place to go. There have been more than a few really good players just not work out at all in that town.

  36. Jocketty told the media he is looking for a backup SS, preferably a switch hitter.

    Anybody have any ideas who might fit this description?

  37. Don’t the Dodgers, with extra outfielders and nobody to play 2B, seem like a fit for a Kemp-Phillips trade? The Reds would need some cash to help. The Reds would have Schumaker and HRod to cover 2B. I would definitely take Choo back if the Reds can afford him. But if the Dodgers kick in about $5 million/year, the Reds payroll only increases by about $5 million in this swap.

    • @MikeC: I do think an LAD & CIN deal for Kemp makes sense but not for Phillips. The LAD just paid a $60MM FA contract for a 2B a few weeks ago. I think they’d have some ‘splainin to do if they brought Phillips in now.

      • @Shchi Cossack: Yeah, short of it being a 3 team trade, with the third team needing Phillips… the best reason I can think the Dodgers would do it is because their SS is a FA after 2014. The 2B they just signed was originally a SS. So they could move him back to SS and put Phillips at 2B. Of course that doesn’t really explain what they’d do with Phillips this year.

        Just the closest to making sense I could make it.

  38. If Infante signs with the Royals, Phillips will go to the Yankees and Gardner to the Reds.

Comments are closed.

About Steve Mancuso

Steve grew up in Cincinnati as a die-hard fan of Sparky's Big Red Machine. After 25 years living outside of Ohio, mostly in Ann Arbor, he returned to the Queen City in 2004. He has resumed a first-person love affair with the Cincinnati Reds and is a season ticket holder at Great American Ball Park. The only place to find Steve's thoughts of more than 140 characters is Redleg Nation. Follow his tweets @spmancuso.


2014 Reds, Havoc, Homer Bailey, Hot Stove, Reds - General


, ,