“Homer Bailey. A down home Texan. He drives a diesel pickup truck. They tell me he wears boots and a cowboy hat. Spends his free time hunting. One of the things he hunts is wild boar. He misses inside. 2 and 0 the count to Uribe. Homer chases the wild boars, cuts the tusks out, keeps a collection in his room. Course he grew up in a 70 thousand chicken, 40 acre egg farm located between LaGrange and Flatonia. Traffic must be very busy there. But Homer said, if he’s not doing something important like playing baseball, he’s in the woods. Homer says, ever since I can remember, I was running around with a BB gun or a .22. But he eats all the wild game he hunts. One other thought about Bailey hunting wild boars, he says the biggest one he’s ever gotten was 400 lbs.”

[The game pauses as Prime Ticket shows a shot of Bailey, standing on the bump, staring at nothing in particular, a thoughtful look on his young face, rolling the baseball in his pitching hand as he contemplates his next pitch, framed by the opening in Dodger Stadium, palm trees gently moving in the background]

“Homer Bailey. Homer’s Odyssey. From Texas to the big leagues. And here he is in Los Angeles. No balls and two strikes.”       —Vin Scully

Is it wrong for me to wonder what Marty Brennaman is thinking today, now that Homer Bailey has signed a contract that will keep him in Cincinnati for what will likely be the remainder of the Hall of Famer’s time behind the mike?

Is he thinking about Homer’s increased strikeout rate and ability to consistently find the strike zone, traits that have seen his WHIP drop each year from 1.47 to 1.37 to 1.28 to 1.24 to 1.12? Doubtful.

But it’s about more than that, anyway. It’s about his uptick in velocity, surely. But still, it’s about more. Yes, his ERA has continued to drop each year from 4.53 in 2009 to a low of 3.49 last season. But, yeah, there’s even more cogitation and rumination we need to do before we come to an informed opinion because this decision was never a slam dunk. It could never be, the human anatomy being what it is—and the violent and ugly reality of throwing a baseball being what IT is.

Consider that Bailey’s Ground Ball Rate has increased over the last three years from 39.5% in 2011, with a significant jump the next year to 44.9%; and further improvement to 46.1% last year, which is above league average. This is not inconsequential when you think about where he makes half his starts. A combination of strikeout pitcher who keeps the ball on the ground and out of the air (or the moon deck), with good glove work behind him is a good thing. Amirite?

But, still, it’s about more than just that.

Bailey has been a reverse platoon split pitcher. Yes, oddly, he has been better against opponents who bat from the left side than he has against hitters from the right from 2010 up until last season. In 2013, all that changed, as he began mastering right-handed hitters the way he you would think he should. Interesting.

And, yes, of course there’s more.

Does the number 853 mean anything to you? It seems like Homer Bailey has been around forever, doesn’t it? And all but a few pitchers have an expiration date on their elbow or shoulder. As the innings pile up, so does the risk that oil will begin to leak, that an overhaul may be looming. Clayton Kershaw, two years younger than Homer, has totaled 1,180 innings in his career so far; Zack Greinke? 1,670 innings. Ubaldo Jimenez? 1,275. How about the oft-compared Justin Masterson? 1,013. Bailey, at age 27, has only 853 innings on the odometer. I’m guessing the Reds know this.

No, Homer is not an “elite” pitcher. Yet. He’s not Wainwright, or Kershaw, or Verlander. But the needle the last two years is pushing in that direction.

Undeniably, there is risk here. He’s a pitcher, for god’s sake. The Reds are betting on and thus paying for future performance, which is a heckuva lot better than paying for past performance, which is what Albert Pujols wanted the St. Louis Cardinals to do, and what last year’s World Series hero now loudly wants Red Sox management to do. So, it might be foolish to get stuck looking at the past, placing too much emphasis on aggregate numbers of days gone by, when a callow lad was learning his craft, albeit slower than we hoped. The Reds are thinking about the pitcher Homer Bailey is today and what he might be going forward.

The Reds are also betting on Bailey, the individual and the certainty of knowing who he is. This is something you never can truly evaluate with any assurance when trading for a guy outside your organization. How many people were worried how Mat Latos would adjust to Cincinnati and its smaller park? How would he mature? How will he continue to mature? With Homer comes years of home movies. We’ve watched him stumble.  Then pick himself up. What once was “pout” is now viewed as “stout.” Bailey brings a work ethic—a commitment to getting better—something he displayed two years ago when he showed up for spring training bigger and stronger, particularly above the waist. After suffering a shoulder impingement that stole months from his season 2011, he trained, building up the area in and around that shoulder, which might explain the jump in velocity. Indeed, the Reds have watched Homer grow, and not just physically. They’ve watched him master his emotions on the bump when things didn’t go his way. They’ve watched him learn to think and adjust, to know when to keep the ball down using a variety of breaking pitches, to know when to challenge with the fastball up in the zone, to sometimes reach back for velocity later in the game, velocity that’s there because he didn’t over-rev the engine looking to overpower hitters in the first three innings.

But, there’s more.

Recently, baseball insiders (GMs, saberists, international scouts, team employees, etc.) were asked to evaluate where Masahiro Tanaka would fall in fantasy starting rotation featuring the following:  #5 Trevor Cahill. #4 Justin Masterson. #3 Homer Bailey. #2 Mat Latos. #1 Stephen Strasburg. The pitcher the closest in the evaluation? Bailey, whom the experts rated Tanaka slightly above, sloting the Japanese pitcher below Latos. Tanaka’s salary?  Seven years, $155M—and they haven’t seen him throw a single pitch in the majors.

Let that percolate for a moment.

You may have wanted to see the Reds pass on an extension, see what the season held and sell high if things went poorly in 2014. But with Bailey in his walk year, there really was no such thing as “selling high.”  You might have been willing to let him go, make the qualifying offer and take the pick. But, these draft picks are overrated. Only one in five turn out to be a what is considered a “good” player. We’re not even talking an All Star player here. Merely an above average player. A 20% chance. For that? No thanks.

We are also seeing the first payoff on the managerial change made back in October. The close relationship between Bryan Price and Bailey is likely to have been a factor in Bailey’s decision to stay despite the rampant rumors he wanted out of Cincinnati.

And yes, just one more thing. Maybe one of the most important things to remember on February 20th—and something the local media has largely missed. In an interview given to Ken Rosenthal, Homer Bailey said his concern about signing an extension with the Reds hinged on the following question:

“Can we get a deal done and still field a competitive team if I’m making X amount of dollars? That’s what I want to know.”

If you think the signing of Homer Bailey means the Reds won’t be spending more money, you likely have it completely backwards. Forget local television money projections. David Dewitt Bailey just told the world the Reds aren’t done yet. And that should make every Reds fan—and perhaps Dallas Latos—very happy.

Now that Bailey is guaranteed to be here for the foreseeable future, the only thing left is for Cincy Shirts to FedEx Marty a companion Votto T-shirt that says:

“I JUST DREW A ?#@!*&%! WALK.”

74 Responses

  1. homerandbruce

    That pitcher rating list is very interesting. If Homer is worth 20 mil and Tanaka is getting 22ish where does that put Latos next winter? 25 million? I know the Reds will be spending money but will they really pony up that much? It’s going to be fun to watch.

    • reaganspad

      @homerandbruce: that is why the most important contracts to me are the extensions of Bruce and Cueto who have both signed long term before.

      Bruce is ready to blow up. I would add 5-7 on his contract today.

      Cueto is our best pitcher. adding to his contract now would save about 5-8 million per year. Cueto wins 20 games this year and he will cost more than Latos

      • redmountain

        @reaganspad: Until Cueto proves he is able to pitch a number of innings, and be effective, offering him an extension seems a little premature. I love Jay Bruce, but until he proves he is able to hit for average without as many strikeouts, but the same kind of power numbers, he is a possible trade piece. Like with pitching, the Reds have some pretty good OF prospects and they will have to decide who are the best players and which can bring something you need.

      • Johnu1

        @redmountain: Asking Bruce to put up the same numbers against lefties and righties is asking quite a lot — puts him in Roy Hobbs territory. To that end, your assertion that he’s a trade piece is based on what might be considered unrealistic aims.

    • Johnu1

      @homerandbruce: This may depend on whether Latos is actually better than Bailey when the time comes.

      We generally agree that Latos is either the ace or deuce of the staff, with Bailey probably 3rd behind Cueto.

      Cueto still is a bit of a mystery, IMO.

      It’s fair to say that Latos will also get better.

      All we know is Bailey is probably the guy to get the ball on O.D.

      All the same, the money for top pitching needs to be there. I don’t relish this team ending up like the Padres or the Marlins or the AAAstros.

      As an aside, I read the early reports out of St. Lousy and they seem to think they have one or two too many starters, based on what they saw a year ago plus Garcia returning, they hope.

      It will be interesting to see how teams play their futures with pitching. We all know you never have enough unless you happen to have too much at the moment.

      As quick as you deal off the extras, you end up like the Cubs.

      How do you keep 6 or 7 quality starters happen when you already have a bullpen of real-live relief pitchers?

      How valuable is a bullpen?

  2. immaculateconcepcion

    A wonderful piece, Mr. Fitch, that touches on many of the intangibles that seem to have eluded many of the deal’s nay-sayers. Add to that Homer’s relative youth, low-mileage and the fact that we don’t have to do a Carfax to see what’s been messed with under the hood. I love the deal and think it bodes well in every direction, with the possible exception of throwing more gas on BP’s inner-mounting flame…

  3. WVRedlegs

    Excellent summation. You hit on all the non-stat variables that make this deal a good one. The risk is there. It always will be with any high-velocity fastball pitcher. But with Bailey, the rewards far outweigh those risks. Two no-hitters in the hopper already. An improving, maturing, getting bigger and better starting pitcher that is home grown is something to hold onto. Just think of the tone of the howl and uproar would be from the fans if the ownership and management had let Bailey walk after 2014, and then he leads his new team to a World Seres title in 2015? It also would be a huge bummer to see Bailey in the 2015 all-star game (in Cincinnati), in another uniform.

  4. CharlotteNCRedsFan

    Great work Richard, I’m sold. All the indicators are pointing in the right direction. As long as the Reds pitching remains stout, they should remain in contention. My gut tells me 2014 will be about Billy Hamilton – one way or the other. This Reds fan is ready to roll!

    • Johnu1

      @CharlotteNCRedsFan: With the basics of the batting order already predictable, yeah … Hamilton is the one component we don’t know yet how to evaluate.

      I suppose the questions about Ludwick and Mesoraco are legitimate, but Hamilton is still a complete mystery — until he gets to first base.

    • greenmtred

      @CharlotteNCRedsFan: I’m ready, too, despite the boring off-season. I agree with you about Billy, but also have a feeling that Cozart will surprise us (favorably, I mean)and that BP will do the same, though I am not one of the people who viewed 2013 as a disaster for him.

  5. jessecuster44

    What a fun read. Go to the data, because the data doesn’t lie.

  6. FLARed

    Nice read, Richard. What struck me from last season was that Bailey at times was throwing his fastball in the high 90s in later innings. At times he seems to get so much stronger as the game progresses. And that may have a lot to do with whether the Reds are leading or not.
    I hope we all are on this blog within the next couple years or so talking about Mr. Bailey as an All-Star, at least, or a Cy Young winner.

  7. al

    I guess my problem with this article is that it doesn’t really address the “risk,” which is how much the contract is for.

    Most of this article seems to be about the reward, pointing out that it’s a good thing that Bailey is still on the team. In a vacuum, that’s really not an arguable point. He’s a good pitcher, the Reds like him, he’s young, and seems to be getting better. It’s obvious that the Reds, or any team, would be better having him than not having him.

    The only possible thing to quibble about is that the Reds may have overpaid for him, and that by overpaying him, they may have hurt their ability to acquire or extend players in the future.

    If you want to talk about risk/reward, how about this: The Reds trade Bailey for one top 50 prospect, which is probably a conservative estimate of the value they could have gotten. Then they sign Ubaldo Jiminez for the same 4yr/$50M deal he just got from the Orioles.

    The two scenarios then are: 6 years of Bailey vs. 4 years of Jiminez, 1 top 50 prospect, and $60M to spend on other players. Which helps the Reds more in the short term? Which helps the Reds more in the long-term?

    I’m not going to say that one of those scenarios is better than the other, but that would have been a real analysis of the risks and rewards of this contract extension.

    • reaganspad

      @al: IF, IF, IF you could get the top 50 prospect for a one year rental.

      David Price is still in Tampa Bay and they make these trades a lot more frequently than the Reds do.

      I say there is not the market for 1 year of Bailey that so many on this blog say and there is for 2 years of Leake.

      I would have traded Leake and resigned Bronson

      • al

        @reaganspad: Fine, make it a top 100 prospect. Make it whatever value you think the Reds could have gotten for him.

        The point is, Bailey’s trade value + Jiminez + $60mil is a reasonable counter to what the Reds did. You may be of the opinion that Bailey is better for the Reds than that, but it’s important to actually think about what the Reds could have done, rather than just say that Bailey is good. We all know Bailey is good.

    • Richard Fitch

      @al: I think the risk is rather obvious, Al. The RISK is that Bailey blows out his arm.

      Now, if you want to talk various “scenarios” that could work out better than keeping Homer, be my guest. That wasn’t the point of the piece. The primary point of the piece was to say very bad things happen when you sign any pitcher to a long term contract and to make a case why that RISK is worth taking anyway. I wasn’t interested in discussing how going in different direction might be better any more than I was making specific projections of future performance from Bailey. Steve did that yesterday, and did it very well, IMO, based on existing projection models.

      To take your example, yeah, they could have gone the Ubaldo route instead. Would the Reds have gotten him for the same price or would it have simply jacked up the Orioles offer? DON’T KNOW. Would he have pitched better than Bailey if we had gotten him? DON’T KNOW. Would you be a able to get a top 50 pick? DON’T KNOW. If the Reds got him, would he pan out? AGAIN, DON’T KNOW. A meteor could land on Joey Votto and we’d be saying, “boy, we should have saved that Homer money for a new first baseman.”

      Too many questions. With no reasonable guesses at reasonable answers.

      Not the game I wanted to play today. Not the piece I wanted to write today.

      • al

        @Richard Fitch: I guess I don’t get calling this piece Risk/Reward if all you were really talking about is reward.

        And I think you are being too narrow if your definition of risk only includes injury risk. Injury risk is there for sure (which you also don’t discuss at all in the piece), but there is also opportunity cost, which is another form of risk. That is what I was exploring with the example I gave.

        I also disagree that there are no reasonable guesses at reasonable answers to the some of the questions you posed. For example, there are many projection systems that could give you a reasonable guess as to which pitcher would will perform better next year. There are plenty of past trades that could give you a reasonable guess as to the level of return the Reds could have gotten.

        I’m really just quibbling though. I don’t actually disagree with any of the positives that you cite about Bailey. If the point of your article was to say that there are many positive things about Homer Bailey, then I entirely agree. When you title it Risk/Reward, I expect to see some sort of weighing of the balance, and I didn’t see that.

      • reaganspad

        @Richard Fitch: @al: Wow, talk about Risk analysis…..

        I never thought about the meteor angle. And Joey, being from Canada originally, would naturally be more susceptible to a direct meteor strike if I understand the statistics on that type of thing properly. Or would you go to fangraphs for that?

        thanks Richard for a great read.

      • reaganspad

        @Richard Fitch: Man Richard, you have got it going on.

        I was really curious what RedShift would be and there you go again. Nice play on word website reference there. I am sure that RedShift has some bearing on our season but will have to study this a bit more.

        Me, I thought RedShift was when the other team moved the Shortstop to Right Field to defend Jay Bruce.

        For the others on the board who are not as gifted as Richard (from Wikipedia):

        In physics, redshift happens when light or other electromagnetic radiation from an object moving away from the observer is increased in wavelength, or shifted to the red end of the spectrum. In general, whether or not the radiation is within the visible spectrum, “redder” means an increase in wavelength – equivalent to a lower frequency and a lower photon energy, in accordance with, respectively, the wave and quantum theories of light.

        Redshifts are an example of the Doppler effect, familiar in the change in the apparent pitches of sirens and frequency of the sound waves emitted by speeding vehicles. A redshift occurs whenever a light source moves away from an observer. Cosmological redshift is seen due to the expansion of the universe, and sufficiently distant light sources (generally more than a few million light years away) show redshift corresponding to the rate of increase in their distance from Earth. Finally, gravitational redshifts are a relativistic effect observed in electromagnetic radiation moving out of gravitational fields. Conversely, a decrease in wavelength is called blueshift and is generally seen when a light-emitting object moves toward an observer or when electromagnetic radiation moves into a gravitational field.

        Although knowledge of redshifts and blueshifts has been applied to develop several terrestrial technologies (such as Doppler radar and radar guns),[1] redshifts are most famously seen in the spectroscopic observations of astronomical objects.[2]

        A special relativistic redshift formula (and its classical approximation) can be used to calculate the redshift of a nearby object when spacetime is flat. However, in many contexts, such as black holes and Big Bang cosmology, redshifts must be calculated using general relativity.[3] Special relativistic, gravitational, and cosmological redshifts can be understood under the umbrella of frame transformation laws. There exist other physical processes that can lead to a shift in the frequency of electromagnetic radiation, including scattering and optical effects; however, the resulting changes are distinguishable from true redshift and are not generally referred to as such (see section on physical optics and radiative transfer).
        Redshift and blueshift

    • Johnu1

      @al: Ubaldo IS the guy you need to check under the hood.

    • earmbrister

      @al: There’s a reason Jimenez “only” got $ 50 Mil for 4 years. Actually two reasons, 2011 and 2012. He was awful.

      I have a hard time paying out that type of money on 2013 alone … Kinda reminds me of the big bullet the Reds dodged when Edison Volquez rolled the dice on himself and crapped out.

      • earmbrister

        @al: Meh, that might be a stretch. However, it’s the consistency (or lack of) that would worry me.

        2008: Good

        2009: Very Good

        2010: Great

        2011: Poor

        2012: Very Poor

        2013: Great

        Homer has gotten better each year since 2008, just steady improvement to being a very good pitcher/a true professional at his craft. Jimenez seems to be all over the map/a true head case (?). I’d rather the Reds spend a $ 100 Mil for a very good pitcher, rather than spending $ 50 Mil on a crapshoot. Jimenez was one of the best ptichers in the league in 2013, but one of the worst pitchers in 2012. No business can invest that kind of money on a crapshoot, unless it’s a desperate business that HAS to roll the dice.

        Thankfully, the Reds are long past the days where they had to gamble serious money to get pitching (see Milton, Eric).

    • greenmtred

      @al: Al: that’s a thoughtful response, but I think you may be over-thinking the situation. Inasmuch as players are actual humans, their future performance can’t be known, only guessed at. There’s also a risk in getting rid of your talent when it starts to mature–a risk that low-payroll teams must assume. I’m glad that the Reds kept Homer. Risk either way, less this way, IMO.

  8. WVRedlegs

    I learned something today. Did you all know that Barry Larkin helped tutor Seattle’s Nick Franklin over the winter?? The same Nick Franklin many of us have advocated for WJ trade make a trade for.

    From Seattle Times:”To shore up his defense, Franklin had the invaluable opportunity over the winter to work out for a few days with Hall of Fame shortstop Barry Larkin. Franklin’s training partner, Dee Gordon of the Dodgers (son of former major-league pitcher Tom “Flash” Gordon), made the introduction, and Franklin soaked up the knowledge.

    Franklin’s comment:
    “That was huge for me, just working with a Hall of Famer,’’ Franklin said. “He had a lot to say, and I had a lot to listen. It was awesome. He kind of fixed a few things.”

    I didn’t know SS was his natural position. Here’s a link.


    • Drew Mac

      @WVRedlegs: How about a three-way deal with Toronto and the M’s? . . . BP to Toronto, Franklin and another Seattle prospect to Cincy, and Rasmus to Seattle?. . . I do this deal yesterday and smile when I look at the payroll flexibility it brings.

      • Drew Mac

        @Drew Mac: Actually, I meant to write “Franklin and a Toronto prospect to Cincy.”

      • Johnu1

        @Drew Mac: Not to be snarky, but I think this story could have been written on Dec. 30.

      • Drew Mac

        @Johnu1: I agree, though it does appear that “industry sources” (whatever that means) seem to have information related to him being moved sometime soon.

      • Johnu1

        @Drew Mac: I guess my point is, that should have appeared obvious the day the Mariners signed Cano. I don’t see anything here that makes me go “hmmm, that never occurred to me.”

      • WVRedlegs

        @Drew Mac:

        A lot of chatter this morning that the Mets could make a move for Franklin.
        How about a 3-way with the Mets. Mets get SS Zack Cozart, Reds get Nick Franklin, Mariners get the Mets LHP Steven Matz, a Mets top-10 prospect.

      • Johnu1

        @WVRedlegs: Why wouldn’t the Mets just trade Matz for Franklin and leave Cozart out of the mix altogether?

      • reaganspad

        @Johnu1: I agree John,

        That is the circular logic that occurred during the trade BP siege.

        Why wouldn’t the Yankees just trade for Franklin?

        Franklin is not as great of a shortstop as second baseman, and is not BP with the glove…

        but if the Reds would rather have Franklin, why wouldn’t the Yankees?

    • Matt WI

      @WVRedlegs: I’m not sure where this fits in the Franklin discussions, but the Brewers are another team that have one too many second baseman. Nobody is sure what’s going to happen with Weeks vs. Gennett. Early consensus is that Gennett stole Weeks’ job, which makes him a high priced bench player. Maybe they platoon them in someway, but they’ve got Weeks to give someone (not the Reds, that’s not what I’m saying) if they were inclined. I feel like they are in a similar position with Weeks as the Reds are with BP, except, you know, BP is better.

    • greenmtred

      @WVRedlegs: I’ll just point out that, great as Barry Larkin was (possibly my favorite Red all-time), he would probably be the first to tell you that BP doesn’t need a tutorial from him or any other infielder. And BP is already on our team.

      • WVRedlegs


        Who gives one iota of a crap about BP? BP has burnt more bridges than General Sherman’s march through Georgia.
        How much longer will BP be a part of the Reds organization?
        BP has now become one big distraction and a pain in the butt. Time for Phillips and his BS bravado to move on. His act is tiring.

      • greenmtred

        @WVRedlegs: Yowsa!!I understand that many on this site are tired of BP, taking rumor and innuendo and supposition seriously, as we are wont to do. It’s considerably less clear that the people who count–his teammates-have a deal-breaking problem. We won’t replace him anytime soon with a 2nd baseman who can carry his glove or, probably, his bat.

  9. CharlotteNCRedsFan

    Good points.

    Who would you rather have pitching in a World Series: Jimenez or Bailey?

    Is Jimenez the guy you want in a big game? Is Bailey?

    IMO, Bailey, no & yes. Risks are all around but nothing ventured, nothing gained. Nothing is more valuable than a stud start in the playoffs. Bailey is near if not there. Jimenez? I don’t think so.

    • al

      @CharlotteNCRedsFan: Jiminez is two years older than Bailey, but the contracts run out at about the same ages. Jiminez has 3 seasons under his belt that are better than Bailey has ever had. They had very comparable seasons last year. Jiminez strikes more guys out, but also walks more guys.

      Based on all of that, I would probably say that going forward I like Bailey more, but that I would prefer to have 4 years of Jiminez and $60M to play with, than 6 years of Bailey. Throw in whatever the Reds could have gotten for Bailey and I think I lean even more towards the Jiminez option.

      • doctor

        @al: dont forget the cost of Reds 1st round pick in your “equation” to sign Ubaldo. Even if its only 20% success rate as Fitch mentioned, tempered by the fact on MLB network show, Baseball America JJ Cooper called Reds one of best drafting teams citing all the high picks that have made the majors for the Reds the last several years.

      • al

        @doctor: That is a good point and definitely makes that version look a little worse.

  10. Timberghost

    I think Homer has all the attributes to be a strong team leader, this extension shows me that us Reds fans are in for a different attitude from our players and manager. In the club house and on the field, HARD NOSED DETERMINATION.

    • Johnu1

      @Timberghost: Not making this deal would have sent a message to the fans that the F.O. is willing to gamble on kids and, if that fails, see if they can wedge a few innings out of Francis or Wang.

      Regardless of risk, reward, length of contract, replacing a guy like Bailey with a bunch of pitchers who might be as good as Aaron Harang, bad seeds being sown with that strategy.

      Scrapping around to see if a better contract is available for a comparable pitcher, maybe.

      But I’d guess, if you look at it from this angle — does ANY-body think Bryan Price isn’t being consulted on matters of his pitching staff?

      If he is, is it conceivable that Price told Walt: If at all possible, sign Bailey. I want this guy on my team.

  11. Jacquestrap LaDouche

    After the second no-hitter, I thought he said

    “Dunno, I just $&#*ing walked a guy…”

    But whatever, verbatim or not, that was a classic moment in FS Ohio Broadcasting and Reds history.


  12. CI3J

    I’m ok with this deal, but I just wish people would temper expectations a bit. Homer has always been about potential, and he is just now starting to realize it.

    But here’s a thought: What if last season was his ceiling? What if that was his career year?

    He’s still a fine pitcher, and I’d love for him to take the final step to becoming “elite”, but until he does it, he’s still just a slightly above average pitcher no matter what his potential may point to.

    • Johnu1

      @CI3J: I’d say my expectations for Bailey are to perform the way he has. If that’s his ceiling, then … well, it is.

      My other expectations are for the rest of the Reds to step it up and score a few runs, let the pitcher do what he does best.

      I think these threads have assumed that the onus of production is on the pitcher to reach up and grab status as “elite,” when there aren’t a dozen such guys in all of baseball.

      And they are getting more contract than this one. Even Tanaka gets more and he’s a AAAA pitcher until he proves otherwise.

      Bailey needs to be consistently as good as he has shown he can be. Every pitcher in baseball can get shelled. A lot of them are also capable of throwing a no-hitter, as Phillip Humber and Armando Gallaraga demonstrated.

      • OhioJim

        @Johnu1: Bailey needs to be consistently as good as he has shown he can be.

        Is there a song about a guy not being as good as he once was but being as good once as he ever was?

        Just need Homer to have those once moments with regularity 🙂

    • greenmtred

      @CI3J: “Speculation is fruitless.” Another quote I am unable to attribute to anyone, but I will speculate that Homer’s stuff is so good that it is unlikely that we’ve seen his ceiling.

  13. Johnu1

    Interesting that the Reds say Latos has already started throwing off flat ground. Price isn’t committing beyond that.

    • OhioJim

      @Johnu1: This was a little it scary to me. The surest way to end up with a more significant injury is to try and prove to one’s self and others that the original injury was really nothing at all. Just ask JoeyV.

  14. icee82

    The Reds were in a no win situation with Bailey. Sign him and the detractors are going to be screaming that you paid too much for a pitcher that only makes an appearance every five days. If they did not sign him, people would be screaming that it is the “Reds of old” letting good players leave due to financial reasons and trying to squeeze in a new guy or a reclamation project to take up the spot. It is scary but the market is what it is right now. The Reds had to pay him that kind of cash in order to keep him long term. If you recall, he is one of the few home grown pitching products that the Reds have been able to produce. When was the last time that a home grown pitching product really paid dividends?

    • WVRedlegs


      Right now, 80% of the Reds starting rotation is home grown. Bailey, Leake, Cueto and Cingrani. Only Latos isn’t. That is pretty amazing.
      The bullpen, is about 50-50 though.

      • reaganspad

        @WVRedlegs: and important that those guys come through our system get properly evaluated. The Reds have proven that they cannot sign impact free agents like Bailey would have been at seasons end on the open market. The best we have done is Coco Cordero.

        icee82 said it correctly: “It is scary but the market is what it is right now.”

        The Reds need to evaluate each of their home grown players to see if they are worthy of being part of that core group of players to build the team around. If they are then they need to sign them like they did with Bailey. Cueto and Bruce fall into that category and should be extended now, regardless of Walt whining that he has no money. Making the investment needs to occur to keep the team above 90 wins and the turnstiles turning.

        Latos is completely desirable, but not home grown. Home grown in that they may bleed a little Cincinnati Red, versus wanting to hit the open market. I see Latos as this type even though he came from the outside. Chapman, not so much

  15. buck3362

    I wonder about a couple things…

    How would Homer’s deal look to Reds fans if he had better run support last year?

    How would this site and every other MLB related site be viewing it if Bailey wins 13-17 games, has era under 4 and walked after the year?

    Ownership continues to pleasantly surprise me. I cannot imagine where my beloved Reds would be if Col. Saunders still owned this team.

    • preach

      @buck3362: I’m not sure I follow. Of course the better the numbers, the more I like the deal.

      I don’t think too many on here, old school (like me) or otherwise really look that much at wins for a basis of comparison. Like you said, if he gets more run support, and pitches the same he would win more games.

      If Broxton put up Rivera numbers, I think we would look at his contract differently.

  16. TC

    I guess this discussion interests others more, but really as long as it doesn’t cause the Reds to not be able to field a competitive team in the future, I don’t really care. Glad to have Bailey around.

  17. Andrew Ryan

    While I am not 100% sold on this deal (more like 75%) it really baffles me to see so many people cite his won-loss record as a reason for it being a bad deal. It’s like people aren’t actually looking at the bigger picture.

    • Johnu1

      @Andrew Ryan: A lot of circular logic applies to that, but when backed into a corner, it’s always “w-l record isn’t meaningful.”

      Fact is, W-L record for a starting pitcher IS meaningful, it just isn’t necessarily a gauge of how well a guy pitched.

      I think the problem is that a cursory look at Bailey’s numbers suggest he’s a No. 3 guy getting No. 1 money.

      He isn’t getting No. 1 money and the F.O. believes he isn’t a No. 3 guy either.

      • al

        @Johnu1: Please explain to me how a pitcher’s win-loss record is meaningful, if it isn’t a gauge of how well the pitcher pitched? What does it mean then?

      • greenmtred

        @al: I’ll take a stab at an answer: won-loss tells you little about a pitcher’s ability, or even how well he actually pitches. It does tell you about the team, though: If you have 5 great starters who lose more than they win, you probably aren’t going to the playoffs.

      • Johnu1

        @al: A STARTING PITCHER’s record is meaningful. If you want the answer, ask the right question.

        Starting pitcher A — 15-10 record
        Starting pitcher B — record is 10-15.

        It’s a 10-game swing, regardless of how good or bad his team is.

        That’s just pretty basic math.

        As to whether it is a gauge of how well he pitches, it’s still his W-L record.

      • Andrew Ryan

        @Johnu1: Won-loss record obviously DOESN’T matter. Felix Hernandez won the Cy Young award with 13 wins and has never had a great record but is still widely regarded as one of the top pitchers in baseball. Just one example but maybe I’m missing your point?

      • ToddAlmighty

        @Andrew Ryan: I’d agree that most of the time W-L means next to nothing when it comes to gauging the ability of a pitcher. That being said, Bailey’s W-L last year was an exception to that. In 2013 he had 11 starts where he allowed 4 or more runs (Leake was 2nd worst on the team with 9)out of his 32 starts. So over a third of the time.

        8 of his 12 losses were starts were from the 11 games that he allowed 4 or more runs in. 9 of his 11 wins were from the 16 games he allowed 2 or less runs in. That’s pretty legitimately a display of his ability. Now am I trying to say all W-L are meaningful? No. Bailey definitely earned his W-L last year though.

        Sure you’re going to have some outliers like the Philly game where he went 8 shutout innings and got a no decision and games like Oakland where he gave up 5 runs in 5.1 innings and got a W….. but for the most part? He was awfully close last year to what his W-L said. Allow 2 or less runs, and you’re most likely going to get a W. Allow 4 or more runs and you’re most likely going to get a L.

      • Johnu1

        @Andrew Ryan: Hernandez actually does have a great record but I think what you’ve assumed here, like Al, is that you are going to jump all over the comment because it’s what you are expected to do — claim people who think W-L is meaningful can’t possibly have a point.

        First off, a W-L record doesn’t have to be positive but it has to exist for a starting pitcher. If he never lasts till the 5th inning, he will have zero wins. I suppose you could want all your starters to have a 0-0 record … after that, who cares who gets the win?

        But if your starting pitcher I REPEAT — STARTING PITCHER — has a bad W-L record, all other things being equal, he’s not effective.

        I think the general premise here is that the Reds are not the AAAstros. I’d expect our starting pitchers to get some wins.

        We could bore each other with the sort of stats that make Hernandez a CY winner. Not very many .500 pitchers will win that award, and we both know it.

        Why it’s meaningful should be obvious if you want to mix together all sorts of stats. It means the team got some runs in the first few innings. It means the team was able to hold the other team down, play defense, all that metric stuff.

        W-L is a yardstick. The games marked “W” are “wins.”

        See how that works.

      • homerandbruce

        @Johnu1: W/L records also reflect how deep a guy goes into his starts as well. Generally speaking, a SP that goes only five innings a start is not going to have as many wins as someone consistently going 6, 7 or even 8. Homer’s year last year may be an exception to this (as he went deep into several starts) but I think that has more to do with lack of run support than anything else.

      • Johnu1

        @homerandbruce: Usually, with the modern concept of W-L records, all it typically means to me is that his team is winning when he pitches. If I hear he’s been getting sloppy wins without much in the way of a QS, that matters. But a guy going into July with a 10-1 record is pitching for a team that is responding to him. Either that, or he’s just darned happy to be out there when his mates rattle a few off the fence.

        Pitchers who aren’t effective are getting L’s … and there are a few pitchers who just don’t get a break.

        All the same, W-L, not unlike the HR, is meaningful. Not all home runs are important.

  18. greenmtred

    Richard: Another outstanding piece of prose. I hope somebody pays you for applying this skill.