When answering a soldier’s question about body armor in a town hall meeting in Iraq, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld infamously said, “You go to war with the Army you have, not the Army you might want or wish to have at a later time.”

In no way are the contexts comparable. But Rumsfeld’s phrasing was memorable enough to cross my mind last night after we heard the sad news about Homer Bailey. This morning, the Cincinnati Reds find their baseball unit depleted. Catcher Devin Mesoraco, an emerging field general, is sidelined with a hip impingement. The announcement that Bailey has sprained his right elbow ligament means the starting rotation is down one of its best sharpshooters.

(First, a brief medical primer – and yes, I’m way past sick of learning about these. The words sprain and strain describe similar injuries, but to different parts of the body. A sprain refers to the stretching or tearing of a ligament. A strain means the tearing of a muscle or tendon.)

With gloomy news, it’s tempting to lash out and assign blame before the situation is fully known. Bailey’s exact condition is yet unclear, or at least not public. He had an MRI yesterday.

Last August, Bailey was diagnosed with a strain in the flexor mass muscle of his right arm. That injury ranges in severity from inflammation, to mild tear, to full rupture. Rest is the prescription for inflammation, a course of action that worked for Mat Latos last season. Jonathan Broxton had suffered a full tear a year earlier and had undergone surgery. Bailey’s case turned out to be moderate, but those also call for corrective surgery. At this point, it’s unclear if Bailey’s ligament injury is related to his muscle injury. It may simply be bad luck. Really bad luck.

Was Bailey rushed back? With the Latos and Broxton cases, the Reds medical staff has had plenty of recent experience with the rehab protocol. Pitchers are typically back on the mound 5-6 months after flexor mass surgery. The Reds appeared to be handling Bailey’s timetable at a conservative pace, certainly consistent with previous cases. Bailey was on the same schedule as Broxton, who had a more serious condition.

There is no point in blaming the player. The injury is no more Homer Bailey’s fault than it is Marlon Byrd’s fault that he’s 37 years old.

Pitchers are suffering severe elbow injuries at a rate that using the word epidemic to describe it has become cliché. Twenty-five percent of major league pitchers have had Tommy John surgery. Let that number sink in. In 2014 alone, more pitchers had the procedure than in the entire decade of the 1990s, including rubber-armed Bronson Arroyo.

Those who second-guess the contract extension given to Bailey by the organization shouldn’t use his injuries as a reason. The contract was reasonable at the time. Bailey was coming off two seasons of 200+ innings pitched, a feat Johnny Cueto has yet to achieve. When Bailey’s extension was signed, Cueto was coming off a season where he had been on the disabled list three times. Given Mat Latos’ recent antics, is anyone still advocating the Reds should have paid him $100 million instead?

The final word isn’t in yet on Bailey’s health. While Bryan Price said “it looks like there are options” his demeanor belied reason for optimism. The worst case scenario for Homer Bailey is that he’ll need Tommy John surgery. Recovery rates range from 10-14 months. His crossbow stays put away for another winter. He should be back on the mound in the first half of next season.

Starting pitching is the one part of the Reds organization — maybe the only one — where they can come close to accommodating a loss like this. Raisel Iglesias, Michael Lorenzen, Tony Cingrani or whomever steps in for Bailey won’t fully replace him. But it’s worth remembering that Cingrani himself stood in ably for Johnny Cueto in 2013. Alfredo Simon replaced Bronson Arroyo and Mat Latos last year. When Bailey was shut down last August, Dylan Axelrod and David Holmberg managed. The Reds defense is a rising tide that lowers all ERAs. That said, the Reds would still be far better off with a healthy Homer Bailey in the rotation.

But now, all the team and their fans can do is go forward with the arms they have, not the ones we might wish to have.

100 Responses

  1. zaglamir

    I wish I could print this out and staple it to the face of everyone in the Reds’ facebook group. The number of folks claiming he did this on purpose so he could “sit on his money,” is mind-numbing. They rival those that claim JV has “given up” since getting his contract.

    • lwblogger2

      Talk like that chaps my butt. It’s ridiculous. Rather you agree the Reds should have extended him or not the fact of the matter is that he didn’t get hurt on purpose. The other thing is players want to play. Getting paid to play is much preferable to getting paid to have surgery and rehab. Not sure why the idiots who are saying stuff like that in the Facebook group can’t get that in their tiny brains.

    • RedInInd

      Sounds like those F’bookers are a pretty smart bunch. Yup. Guess I’ll sign up and go there for all my Reds’ news instead of spending so much time here at Redleg Nation. Thanks for the tip.

  2. Greg Dafler

    Here’s Louisville’s rotation. They had a doubleheader on Sunday and another one today (Tuesday):

    Raisel Iglesias & Matt Magill started for Louisville on Sunday.
    David Holmberg started on Monday.
    Dylan Axlerod and Jon Moscot are scheduled for today.
    Michael Lorenzen is scheduled for Wednesday.
    Thursday is listed as TBA. Either of Sunday’s starters would be pitching on 3 days rest.

    So, any of the next three scheduled starters could be held back, though I don’t think any of them are on the 40-man roster. Alternatively, Tony Cingrani could get the start, though I don’t know how many innings he could go.

    • Greg Dafler

      Actually, Louisville has already started the first game of today’s DH and Moscot is pitching. So, he’s out of the short-term plan to replace Bailey’s Thursday start.

  3. garym6059

    I don’t even know why any fan gets super excited about any young pitcher it’s inevitable he’s going under the knife. Hopefully it’s nothing serious with Homer, but really anybody claiming he’s sitting on his money is an idiot.

    • jdx19

      I wonder how long it will be before we see out first pre-emptive TJ surgery. It’s just a matter of time before a team takes a 19-20 year old and gives them a new elbow ligament made out of flexible carbon fiber or something else ridiculous.

      • ProspectCincy

        Doesn’t work like that. The surgery weakens the elbow, and no sane person would ever want to have the surgery. Should a second surgery be needed within a five year window (which is happening a lot more often now), you’re career is officially over as a starting pitcher. Success rate on that has been 0%; not one pitcher has beat it.

        So considering you can still recover from just one surgery, nobody is ever going to just “get it” as a preventative measure.

      • Steve Mancuso

        It’s true that a second TJS reduces your odds of returning to the major leagues. But it’s not true that the success rate is zero. Several active pitchers, mostly relievers, have had more than one. The Reds’ Jose Rijo had three and pitched again. Here’s an article about the doubles: http://www.si.com/mlb/strike-zone/2014/03/17/jarrod-parker-tommy-john-surgery-two-time-recipients

        Studies show that 65 percent of two-time recipients get back to the major leagues. Yes, those pitchers are diminished from their former selves, but their careers aren’t officially over. http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2015/03/25/two-tommy-john-surgeries-may-be-too-much-of-a-good-thing-for-mlb-pitchers/

      • ProspectCincy

        Steve … nobody said two was a death sentence.

        But I did say two within a five year period was a death sentence for starting pitchers. I dare you to show me one successful starting pitcher who had two TJ surgeries within five years of each other.

      • Steve Mancuso

        Chris Capuano is an example. His were six years apart. Kris Medlen, Brandon Beachy and Jarrod Parker are going to provide more evidence this year. We’ll see. Those articles I linked discuss all these examples and the data. The two-timers cut their innings back by relieving to extend their careers. No one disagrees that pitchers should avoid two TJS and that pre-emptive surgery is silly. But I thought your claim about careers as starters being “officially over” was a little strong for the data.

      • ProspectCincy

        Considering that not a single pitcher has ever done it … no I think the data is pretty strong on that front. The elbow needs time to strengthen, and when you go in for surgery #2 so quickly, that pretty much means you’ll never be able to pitch in length again.

        And Capuano as you cited is not an example, because again, he’s six years apart.

      • jdx19

        I guess you didn’t pick up on the sarcasm.

      • jdx19

        Figured the use of “carbon fiber” and “ridiculous” would have made it clear.

  4. Robby20

    The truly scary thing about the latest injury is that when combined with the Mesoraco injury it will cloud Castellini’s judgement once more into thinking that all the Reds need is a year when everyone stays healthy and they will be competitive.

    The other bad thing about the Bailey injury is that he can’t be part of the fire sale.

    It is time to rethink the approach, bring a GM in who is forward thinking and blow this thing up. No one should be untouchable and if it takes eating some money to unload some of the players so be it.

    Some have said shoot for 2017. I’m not convinced there is enough talent in the system to make that a reality, but maybe the fire sale brings in enough to make it possible. I’m guessing 2018 and that is only if someone other than the current GM is pulling the strings.

    • lwblogger2

      The thing about rebuilding efforts is sometimes you get in a cycle of perpetual rebuilding. Be careful what you wish for. We could end up with 2000-2009 all over again.

      • lwblogger2

        Or endure what Pirates’ fans endured. Or what Royals fans endured. Or what Indians fans have dealt with many times.

      • charlottencredsfan

        What is the other option?

      • lwblogger2

        You have to have a steady flow of talent coming into the organization. You have to draft and develop well, and then augment that talent with smart free-agent moves.

        If I were the Reds’ GM, I’d see how things stood around the break. I don’t think I’d blow up the team under any circumstance though. Straight salary dumps aren’t the way to go. For instance, you aren’t getting much other than salary relief for some of the Reds higher contracts. So, you hang onto those deals. You only trade guys you can get good talent back for (Cueto, Chapman).

      • charlottencredsfan

        Agree, we are stuck with the Votto, BP and Homer’s contracts as no one will pick them up at face value. By the way, this is great indication they are bad contracts. I’d keep the nucleus: Bruce, Ham, Frazier & Mes but everything else has a price. Don’t know if that is “blowing up” but certainly is rebuilding.

      • Steve Mancuso

        Do you have any proof for this claim that you keep repeating that no one would pick up Votto, Phillips and Bailey’s contracts? (Homer’s recent injury aside.) You keep saying that but what do you base it on? The way Votto is hitting right now, his contract is way right side up. Bailey’s was OK, before the injury. Phillips was close. Not that I particularly want to defend the Phillips contract, but all we know is that Jocketty couldn’t make a deal. It could be that teams would take the contract but not give back much more and Jocketty didn’t want the deal on those terms, either for public relations reasons or because he evaluated BP as a better player. Either way, there has been no test, at least to my knowledge, of your statement that “no one will pick them up on face value.” Don’t you agree an assertion like that ought to have some evidence supporting it?

      • charlottencredsfan

        Have seen anyone say otherwise?

      • charlottencredsfan

        Understand but realistically I can’t see it. Maybe if money is sent along with the player(s). Could be wrong though.

      • BigRedMike

        What is wrong with Votto’s contract? He is very productive when not injured.

        Phillips contract is pretty bad and hopefully, Mesoraco’s contract does not become an issue with his injury.

        What will the Reds do with Bruce for 2017 and beyond?

    • Eric the Red

      I’m afraid it will cloud Castellini’s judgment into thinking an extension for Cueto is a bad idea. I want a WS win. I’m even willing to accept losing 18 months out of a six year contract to injury if my chances of winning the WS in one or two of the other years are improved.

      • jessecuster44

        Sounds like you want to grab the brass ring. Guess what? Walt/Bob have had their chances to grab the brass ring. They prefer to have the ring come to them. Which will never happen.

      • Robby20

        Love your optimism, but this roster has way too many issue to ever contend for a World Series. Given what Cueto will earn the Reds have no choice but to move him

      • Eric the Red

        They can afford anything. Literally. Short of some sort of catastrophe that makes owning a baseball team like the Reds a lot less valuable, they could have a 250 million dollar payroll and the Castellinis still wouldn’t have to worry about going to the poorhouse.

      • Robby20

        The Reds will not re-sign Cueto and the reason they will give is that they can’t afford to sign him. It is the same reason they gave for not acquiring Cliff Lee when he would have helped or Hunter Pence, or Nelson Cruz or Michael Morse this past winter or……..

        It is the reason that we get to watch Gregg, Marquis, Boesch and Byrd. The Reds have a budget and they are going to stay within it even if it means putting an inferior product on the field. It really doesn’t matter how much money Castellini has. The Reds have a budget and I’ve seen no evidence since Castellini bought the team that he will go over budget. When they gave Votto his lifelong contract they justified that by saying the TV money would cover it.

        If Cueto is a Red next year it means more salary dumps are in the works and the final product on the field will be even weaker than this year’s club.

      • charlottencredsfan

        This doesn’t feel too good Robby but it is the cold, hard facts. Best to deal with reality and the Reds moves will make a lot more sense. One thing Bob C. has proven to be a adept at, is staying on budget. Ask Walt. The Votto, BP and Homer contracts do not fit this particular business model, like it or not.

  5. Jeremy Forbes

    The injury is by no means Bailey’s fault, and I am sure he wants to compete and win.

    That said, people should absolutely be able to use Bailey’s injury as a reason to second guess the contract, because it wasn’t incredibly hard to predict it happening. When he got the extension, he did have the back-to-back 200+ inning years, but before that, his career high in the majors was 132 innings. So while Cueto has never had back-to-back 200 inning years, he has had five years where he started 30 or more games. Bailey has two.

    Between the injury history, and the fact that when he got the extension he had a career 4.25 ERA, 4.00 FIP, and 95 ERA+, it was a pretty bad contract that still has another 4yr/$86m left to hurt the Reds.

    • Steve Mancuso

      That’s really misleading to only quote his major league innings, don’t you think? In 2009, Homer made 34 starts and pitched 203 innings. And he made 28 starts in 2011. In his “injured” seasons, Bailey started 23 games (2010) and 24 games (2014). Johnny Cueto has largely been durable. From 2007-2014 (eight seasons), Cueto made *five* more starts than Homer Bailey.

      Because a pitcher has a shoulder problem in 2010 and 2011 that doesn’t recur over 75 starts, the Reds owners should expect he’s going to have elbow problems two years later. Do you know how many pitchers that would rule out? Pretty much every one.

      Homer wasn’t the same pitcher in 2013 as he was in the earlier part of his career and he hadn’t been since 2010. When anyone cites that line of argument (career ERA etc.), it’s an obvious tell they have some sort of bias against Bailey. It’s made by the same people who kept calling him a head-case and other garbage for years.

      Can’t you just be satisfied that you won’t have to watch him pitch for another year and leave these false, misleading arguments alone?

      • lwblogger2

        Steve it’s possible to have some bias against the contract but not against Bailey. My reasoning is more along the lines of not giving long-term, high-dollar, deals to any pitcher really. The injury risk for any pitcher is higher than position players. It’s why the O’s lose a lot of pitcher bidding wars. They don’t want to go past 4 years on a pitcher. I have never felt the contract wasn’t fair market value. Unlike what some folks think, Bailey isn’t paid like an ace. It just represented a risk I didn’t want to take. It’s why I don’t want to resign Cueto and why I wouldn’t go past 4 years for Leake.

        I really like Bailey. I’m hoping for he and the Reds that he’ll be fine. It isn’t just the contract. It’s a good ballplayer on the team that I like the most. Plus, when Homer is right, I thoroughly enjoy watching him pitch.

      • lwblogger2

        Having said that, if Bailey had signed a 4-year deal and he does need TJ surgery, the Reds would have little chance of getting value on the deal. With the longer deal, assuming all goes well with TJ surgery, there’s no reason to believe they wouldn’t get value back on the back-end of the deal.

      • Steve Mancuso

        I’ve got no problem with avoiding five year contracts with pitchers, including Homer Bailey. The odds of injury some time during that period, and decline, are significant. Age does make a difference, though. When someone is against that kind of contract in principle, it’s one thing. But when people single out Bailey’s (you didn’t) contract to second-guess, that’s when I take issue.

      • Jeremy Forbes

        Come on now Steve, even if you include all his minor league innings (which would also include rehab starts that could as a “start” in the minors for your stats). His innings are as follows… 103.3, 138.2, 120.2, 147.2, 203, 132, 162, 208, 209, 145.2, 17.

        Still not very impressive.

        Fair enough Homer isn’t the same pitcher he used to be back in the beginning of his career, but even if you choose to only look at the two best years of his career, he was a 3.58 ERA pitcher. Leake’s best two years? 3.54 ERA.

        He was also inconsistent in that two year span. In his 65 starts, he had 22 games where he allowed 4 or more earned runs. For comparison, Cueto has had 15 games where he’s allowed 4 or more runs in the last 106 starts (beginning of 2011)

        They paid Bailey on what they hoped he could be, not what he realistically was, and it was a bad deal.

      • Steve Mancuso

        Leake’s best years don’t stand up to Homer’s if you look at FIP, xFIP and SIERA. We’ve been through the point before about the “4-or more” claim. Studies show that a team is better off if their pitcher has games of giving up really low number of runs with a few other 4+ games. Here is Mike Maffie’s post that discusses the research on that in detail: http://redlegnation.com/2014/05/16/quality-starts-and-inconsistent-pitching/

      • Jeremy Forbes

        Except FIP doesn’t care about the ability to prevent runs from scoring. Cueto was 4th in ERA (2.25) and 24th in FIP in 2014 (3.30). Meanwhile Phil Hughes was 42nd in ERA (3.52) and 6th in FIP (2.65).

        With xFIP, it assumes that Clayton Kershaw (6.8%) and Mike Leake (13.7%) should have the same HR/FB rate at 10.5%, leading to Kershaw having a career 3.11 xFIP and Leake having a 3.79.

        SIERA.. well, the 11th highest pitcher last year had a 4.05 ERA and a H/9 of 10.0 and a 4.35 from 2013-2015.

        Great example… So far this year, Jon Lester’s 6.23 ERA (105th) has him at 6th in FIP, 2nd in xFIP, and 13th in SIERA.. in all of baseball. I know which one of those stats best display his season thus far in my opinion.

        I put very little stock in those stats until they start making sense.

      • Nick Doran

        FIP, xFIP and SIERA have all been proven to be much more effective at predicting the future when compared to ERA. When making contract decisions it more important to determine what a pitcher’s ERA will be next year than what it was last year.

        ERA gives the pitcher credit and blame for a lot of things that are out of his control. FIP, xFIP and SIERA focus solely on the things the pitcher does control, and that is why they do a much better job of estimating a pitcher’s future ERA.

    • tct

      Yeah, the fact that pitchers often have serious, and sometimes career threatening, injuries is the biggest reason why expensive , long term contracts for pitchers are so risky. It’s kind of disingenuous to act like this is something no one could have foreseen.

      The bigger issue I had with the Bailey contract is that it was an overpay. They basically paid him like it was a given that he would just keep on improving, which is ridiculous for a guy who was already, what, 28 or 29. They paid him like his career year in 2013 was his floor.

      • Steve Mancuso

        I agree with your first point. It applies to all pitchers. Injury during the course of a contract is normal.

        But your second point is wrong. They paid him as though 2013 was his top and that he would decline at average levels. You have to do the math like I did in the recent post. http://redlegnation.com/2015/04/20/the-value-of-players/

        Many of Bailey’s peripheral stats last year (velocity, ground ball rates, swinging strikes) were better than 2013, despite nagging injuries all year.

      • Jeremy Forbes

        Except the Reds can’t afford to pay $7.5-9.8m per WAR and still field a competitive team. They have to consistently get better-than-value from their contracts, otherwise they are bad contracts.

      • Robby20

        If the organization doesn’t extend a guy like the Reds did with Cueto and Bruce before they reach FA, a small market team is better off letting a guy walk or moving him in a trade. Especially a pitcher who is more than likely going to break down before that long term deal is fulfilled. The Reds maybe paid what he would have gotten on the open market but for the Reds it was a bad deal.

      • tct

        The whole 7.5 million per WAR is an average of what teams paid on the open market . Homer Bailey wasn’t on the open market. The Reds had him under team control for one more year at ten million. That was the year that the projections would say that the Reds would get the most surplus value, and they already had that one in the bank. Should have gotten a bit of a discount because of that, but they didn’t. What the Reds actually got was five free agent years, age 29-33, for 95 million.

        Secondly, your numbers in the the age decline by WAR section have Bailey starting at a three win player. He’s only been above three wins once in his career. I think you’re supposed to use a projection for the first year and then do the age decline. You are basically using his career year as a projection and then deducting the aging decline.

        Third, this is not a bias against Homer. Bruce, Frazier, and Homer have been my favorite players for the last few years, but I think I can discuss them objectively.

      • Steve Mancuso

        I’m not saying you’re biased.

        Yes, the 3.0 starting point was an estimate, and I explained the reasoning for it. Homer exceeded that amount by about 10% in 2013. While it’s true that the estimate was based on his career year, it was also based on his most recent healthy year, which is standard procedure for these exercises. That left the question of 2014, which was confounded by Homer’s various injuries. I basically said that if you look at the healthy part of his season (June-August) and important peripherals (fastball velocity, swinging strikes, ground ball percent) that he seemed to be the same pitcher he was in 2013. So I took a 10 percent aging discount off of 3.3 WAR and started with 3.0 WAR. Anyone can certainly disagree with that methodology, but I’m being transparent about how I came up with that number.

        My analysis of his contract didn’t include 2014 – the non-discount year. So I don’t see the relevance of your point. I agree that year should be bracketed off because they had him under team control already. My numbers were based on 2015-2019 for $95 million as you point out. If you put the buyout in there, it’s $96 million.

      • tct

        I brought up the year of team control just to point out that Homer wasn’t on the open market. When you buy out free agent years of a player who is not a free agent yet, you should not have to pay the full, open market value. Now the Reds only had one year of team control left, so they shouldn’t have expected a big discount. But I don’t think its right to assess the contrac using open market values for a player who wasn’t on the open market when he signed.

        What you are saying is that the contract is fair if you assume that Homer is a true talent 3 win pitcher and you assume that the Reds had to pay open market value for him. I could buy Homer as a three win pitcher if he stays healthy the entire year. But as we said, pitchers have a high injury risk so I think you should start that estimate a bit lower to factor in that risk. And I absolutely don’t believe that the Reds should have paid full, open market value for his free agent years. So, in my opinion, it was a bit of an overpay. Not horribly bad, but a bit of an overpay nonetheless. And if you are going to take the risk of signing a pitcher to a big long term contract, you shouldn’t overpay.

      • Steve Mancuso

        The Reds waited so long to negotiate the deal, Homer had little reason to offer a discount and he didn’t. The Reds were also boxed in by Cueto’s injuries and Latos’ maturity issues.

        Homer’s market value in the offseason after 2013 included one more team controlled year and then four extra years in free agency. He ended up making the going arbitration rate for his ARB3 year, maybe even a little less. The Reds got a backloaded deal, which makes it cheaper. Homer also wanted “free agent money” for his ARB3 year, which he didn’t get, at least not during that season. There are also some gimmicks built in to the contract about when Homer gets paid that technically moves the salary into the next fiscal year for the club. Not sure how much that’s worth to the club, but they wanted it. So Homer was paid like a player with 1 year of arbitration and 4 years of free agency.

        My view is that Homer was more than a 3-win pitcher in 2013 and 2014 in terms of talent, closer to 3.5 wins. So the starting point of 3.0 was about right or maybe even conservative. I don’t think people will consider Homer’s contract an overpay relative to other deals (see Porcello) in subsequent years.

  6. Dayton Ducks

    I still remember that game 3 against the Giants, and I didn’t even see it. I had to work, and throughout game friends of mine–fans of other teams–kept sending texts, saying how awe-struck they were by his performance. I’m still heartbroken they couldn’t get him the win. Here’s hoping we eventually get to see that Homer again!

    • lwblogger2

      Indeed. He pitched a beauty that day.

  7. spro

    I just hope they don’t try to pawn it off as an “injury-plagued year”. Every team has injuries, the depth of the teams and talent to make trades is what separates the good ones from the bad ones. If I hear this offseason the optimism that “we’re getting Homer and Devin back” as one of the main reasons to improve on our 75 win season, I’m going to go berserk.

    • ProspectCincy

      Very true. Look at the Mets right now.

      They lost Wheeler for the year, Mejia to suspension, dArnaud for two months, Blevins for three months and Wright for a month.

      Imagine what this current Reds team would be like if you took away Chapman, Mesoraco, Cingrani, Leake and Frazier all at the same time. (two missing now, but geesh would these guys be God awful).

    • greenmtred

      Injuries obviously make a difference, and they obviously do not fall equally on all teams. I agree with you about depth, but having bench players good enough to assume a full-time roll (without significant fall-off) is possible only for the wealthiest teams. Replacing a starting catcher who has significant power numbers is beyond daunting. Ditto for a top-of-the-rotation starting pitcher. Depth, to be really helpful when season-ending injuries occur, has to be taken to include a strong farm system (see the Cardinals). Trading to replace Mes or Bailey is going to cost the Reds some of their best prospects, and that looks very short-sighted to me.

  8. Daytonian

    Is it Lorenzon time? A 40-man roster shuffle? Holmberg and Gregg are the likely candidates to go. Thesetwo are not youngsters like Corcino. Given their age and poor performance this year, there is little risk of the Reds losing them.

    • Daytonian

      Correction. Gregg is not a youngster. Holmberg, eh?

  9. bohdi87

    Apologies for being pretty far off topic but the hypocrisy of the Hall of Fame vote when it’s okay for 25% of current MLB pitchers to go under the knife, yet players who used PEDS are completely vilified is amusing to me.

      • bohdi87

        I’m not sure legality is a factor. There are plenty of players in the HOF that broke the law and not everything that is considered a PED is illegal. The rationale for banning PEDs has always been that they give an unnatural unfair advantage. A player being put to sleep (with drugs) so someone can cut them open and repair a body part is not THAT different than injecting a drug into the player to repair a body part.

        I’m not fully equating the two but it’s interesting when you really think about it. Societal norms, taboos, and money are much more at play than keeping anything fair.

      • Matt WI

        Surgery fixes something that is broken and it is an option available to all players. PED’s influence muscle growth, reaction time, healing via substances that are illegal to use under the rules of the work place, and some people follow the rules, some have chosen not to.

        You’re kind of saying people who use a C.P.A for their tax prep is the same as someone who cheats on their taxes.

      • Matt WI

        And regarding the HOF, for better or worse, I believe writers make a distinction between breaking a law vs. a player doing an illegal action that directly influenced how one played the game that they are being voted for the HOF on.

        Mike Leake stealing a shirt is not the same thing as Mike Leake taking PED’s and staying freakishly strong and healthy when it comes to evaluating baseball talent.

      • bohdi87

        @MATT WI. Baseball’s steroid policy has only been in effect since 2005. Using your analogy, its more like the IRS randomly decided to make using a CPA for your taxes illegal. After all, you are using a CPA to “cheat” and get a larger refund than you otherwise would.

        Disclaimer: I’m not saying steroids should be illegal,legal, banned, or not banned. I just simply think the inconsistency in rationale for why rules are made is intesting.

      • jdx19

        Agree with BOHDI that is in an interesting topic. Ultimately, the BBWAA is a group of folks with a collective idea of what a hall-of-famer looks like. Currently, due to societal norms as you mention, and other factors, steroids/PEDs are bad.

        But, I also agree with the other posters that likening PED use to surgery is completely and utterly useless.

        If you want to take it a step further, you can say that players are no longer allowed to take days off, because rest helps them perform better. They are no longer allowed to eat vegatables, because healthy diets make them perform better.

      • Matt WI

        Just for the record, using the CPA to obtain your refund was akin to surgery in my example, not something that was randomly decided to be deemed illegal. Where that admittedly breaks down a bit is that people don’t just use an accountant when something is wrong (getting a surgery to fix something broken), but it something that all people are welcome to do if they do have problems. However, anyone is welcome to attend regular check-ups etc to stay at their peak.

        It would be that maybe the IRS changed a law that people felt like they’d rather ignore as the PED’s.

        I think you have a very separate and valuable point about how HOF voters may invoke a sense of morality, etc, but it isn’t well housed in the going to the doctor example. See JDX’s points about where that leads.

  10. IndyRedMan

    Bad contracts, injuries, underachievers. Then you see the Cubs building a monster almost overnight…pretty sickening? I know I might possibly come down I-74 to see Lorenzen or Inglesias pitch but they’d rather go w/the same theory that worked so well in the Griffey/Dunn era and go with retreads and nobodies like Marquis and Gregg. Other teams have 22 yr old throwing 97 in the pen and we have Badenhop chucking up lasers all over the field. He may get some woman killed in the left field stands when some rocket takes her head off while shes on her phone

    • User1022

      Moral of this story: Don’t talk on your phone when Badenhop is pitching.

      • Steve Mancuso

        Yeah, I turned the game off going into the bottom of the ninth to watch the coverage of Baltimore. Then saw the score later and that Chapman (!) had to come in.

      • IndyRedMan

        I sure you saw more velocity out of the rocks being thrown then Badenslop

    • CTRedsFan

      Not exactly overnight. This is Epstein’s fourth season with the Cubs, they finished 5th in the first three, and are now becoming competitive, and he is very talented. If the Reds attempt a complete rebuild with Walt it will probably be a disaster. If they bring in a talented front office, like the Cubs did, it will probably be 2019 or 2020 before they are truly competitive again. There just is not the talent in the system to manage turnover, selectively sign free agents and stay competitive year in and year out, like the Cardinals do.

      • Robby20

        Agree with everything you said. One can only hope ownership can bite the bullet even though it means some lean years. A new GM should be the first order of business.

      • jdx19

        Cubs also got lucky, in a manner of speaking. You don’t have a Kris Bryant in the draft every year. It was like the Nats getting Strasburg and Harper in back-to-back years. Also, they happened to have an expedable resource (Samardzija) that someone overvalued (Oakland) i nthe short-term and was willing to part with a long-term growth asset (Russell).

        Sometimes your earnest rebuilding efforts also include a bit of luck.

      • Robby20

        Absolutely. Something the Reds seem to depend on as they plan and something they have little of. (luck that is)

  11. jessecuster44

    The Reds were supposed to be healthy this year. When that’s one of your keys to success, maybe you should go a little further to ensure everyone’s health. Mez, and now Bailey are seriously hurt, and we’re not a month into the season.

    in his two starts, Bailey’s velocity was down and his arm was sore. Was it like that in spring training and during rehab? If so, I don’t think Bailey’s arm was healthy enough to pitch at 100%. I think his condition wasn’t given the due diligence that a $100 million arm denotes, and that once again, the Reds med staff has played a role in a player’s injury.

    I hear all the time that the Reds staff is top notch. But I also see that the number of injuries and re-injuries the Reds have had since 2012 is shockingly high. I see better than I hear. Of course, most will say that these injuries are horrible luck.

    I would say that Bailey’s latest injury requires an extensive audit of the practices of the Reds med staff regarding their approach to conditioning, preventative medicine, and treatment of injuries. There have been too many injuries to too much of the payroll to just be attributed to bad luck. Something stinks.

  12. Matt WI

    My alternative theme for Steve’s post: Love the one your’re with

  13. Pooter

    Maybe Sean Marshall can come back and fill in some of the holes we have! (sarcasm)

  14. IndyRedMan

    Doesn’t look good….Tony Disco looks like he can get people out at 91-92 mph since he keeps the ball down and out of the middle of the plate but Homer needed that extra juice up to 95-96 since his breaking stuff has never been that great. Its too bad Jocketty decided to pay so much for 2 no-hitters

  15. sultanofswaff

    This kind of stuff happens. I’m looking on the bright side—-there’s every reason to believe the Reds will still get 3+ years of quality production from Homer.

    In the meantime? By Memorial Day if not sooner, I would like to see the Reds call up Lorenzen/Iglesias/Winker and ship out Badenhop/Byrd/Gregg. Some flawed team is going to be the division champ this year, and it might as well be us. It’s a win-win scenario. If the kids do well we could sneak into the playoffs. If they don’t, we trade Cueto and Leake for a king’s ransom. What’s not to like? All it takes it some guts from the front office to break out of their deliberate, old school player development model.

    • ProspectCincy

      Uhh no. There’s every reason to believe they won’t get that production; between his previous injuries, his performance, this team, the medical staff … they all give you reason to think things won’t go well; not that they will.

      Bailey is simply the case of a lost #3 pitcher. The Dodgers just lost theirs, the Mets lost theirs earlier this season … and both of those teams seem to be doing A-OK.

  16. WVRedlegs

    All right now, it may be time to call the ASCPA on me, but what better time is there than now to move Chapman to the rotation.
    I can see Chapman now riding in on a white horse making lemonade out of all these lemons and carrying a box of pastelitos de guayaba.
    What better story for the All Star game hoopla would there be for Chapman instead of of the current storyline of wasting away in the bullpen? Chapman moving to starter, rescuing the Reds season and make the all star team as a starter.

    • jessecuster44

      This is a fine idea, and sounds just like something an organization in St. Louis might do, when faced with a challenge to replace one of its starters.

    • IndyRedMan

      Its not happening and prob shouldn’t at this point. He’s awesome at what he does and he would prob lose a few mph as a starter and have to develop pitches that he doesn’t use now. He has the talent to do it but they have no imagination anyway

  17. Matt

    I disagree that the Bailey contract was a reasonable contract, and not just because hindsight is 20/20. If you’re projecting WAR assuming no major injuries (to borrow a term from finance, “deep risk”), I would agree that it was a reasonable contract, but as I wrote over a week ago, *before* Bailey’s injury, mind you, you need to take “deep risk” into account when evaluating a contract.

    • Steve Schoenbaechler

      Exactly, Matt. Besides Homer’s good season and decent season, he’s been an “option to the minors” pitcher (earlier in his career) and a “DL waiting to happen” pitcher. If he would have had the same numbers without the options down and the DL’s (except, of course, the number of innings and K’s, etc., would increase), aka stayed healthy and serviceable, then yes, I agree, it was a reasonable contract. But, Homer hasn’t been a healthy pitcher. I would have let him walk. Let him try to find someone else to pay him that kind of money.

      • Steve Mancuso

        Has Cueto been a “healthy pitcher”? Over the past 8 years, Cueto has made five more starts than Bailey.

      • Steve Schoenbaechler

        You must be counting some of those starts in the minors, Steve, when Homer got optioned back down because he wasn’t cutting it up here or some of those rehab starts when he worked a couple of starts down in the minors coming back from injury.

        Like I specified, Homer had been an “option to the minors” pitcher, also, early in his career. I did specify both.

        Seriously, you are going to compare Homer to a pitcher who’s finished in the top 4 CY the last 3 seasons. There’s no comparison.

      • Steve Mancuso

        You’re changing the subject. You said Homer wasn’t a healthy pitcher. I was responding to that point, not making a general comparison with Cueto. From the standpoint of his health, what difference does it make if the starts were in the minors or majors? None. Cueto has less than one start per year more than Bailey on average. Cueto is a better pitcher, which is why his contract will cost more than twice as much as Bailey’s and for older ages.

      • Jeremy Conley

        I don’t think it’s necessarily fair to count a rehab start. Maybe counting starts where he was optioned to the minors makes sense because you could say he was healthy, but rehab starts are pretty clearly intended to help a player get healthy who isn’t. You can argue that maybe Bailey didn’t really need the rehab starts, but that’s totally subjective without any actual clubhouse knowledge.

        It seems fair to compare major league starts, when looking at a players health.

      • Steve Schoenbaechler

        If anything, you’re trying to change it by only including one thing I specified and not the other.

      • Steve Schoenbaechler

        Read the post again, Steve. Specifically:

        “option to the minors” pitcher


        “DL waiting to happen” pitcher

        If you want to get on the use of and/or, you can save that for English class. That’s a different subject.

      • Matt

        I would in fact argue that regardless of injury history (leaving aside whether or not Bailey is a “DL waiting to happen”), you need to discount the WAR you expect from any player, and especially a pitcher, based on the possibility of major injury.

        Even last year, for example, Arroyo needed TJ surgery. We’re talking the least likely suspect for surgery – a soft-tossing finesse pitcher who had never in his 15 year career been on the DL, and pitched 199+ innings 9 years in a row.

  18. Steve Schoenbaechler

    Oh, Bailey’s contract may have been reasonable at the time, but I sure wouldn’t have paid for it. A pitcher who in 8 prior big league seasons has only won more than 9 games twice? Besides the one good season and one decent season he’s had, Homer has been a walking “option to the minors” (earlier in his career) or a “DL waiting to happen” throughout his career. And, we’re going to give a guy that kind of money? Reasonable, I will give that. Smart? Not by a moon shot. Especially while the guy was still injured. For all we knew, he could be out as long as Masset and Marshall had been.

    Extending Leake would have been a much smarter player to extend. Not only does he have similar numbers to Homer (besides Homer being more power oriented and Leake being more control oriented, something like comparing Clemens and Maddux), Leake can also hit, even pinch hit and pinch run if needed, probably even be able to play some emergency SS if needed. Leake is a much more valuable pitcher because of his versitility. As well as, Leake has barely seen a wiff of an injury throughout his entire time here. Granted he was shut down his first (if not second season up here), how many visits to the DL has he had?

    And, I said this as soon as that contract was signed, not after his most recent visit to the DL. We should have let him walk. Let someone else pay him that kind of money, money that he will never earn here.

  19. JMO

    Yeah I def would have extended Leake before Bailey. Gold glove defense, can hit, athletic, very very durable, etc. Safe innings eater. If we had Cueto and Leake locked up, the Reds future would be very bright.

    Cueto, Leake, Disco, Iglesias, Lorenzen

  20. Jeremy Conley

    Defending the Bailey deal at the point doesn’t make any sense. He spent a ton of time on the DL early in his career, and only put two good seasons together. Comparable pitchers signed for way less money. He had no leverage. No one else in the league would have given him close to that money even if he was a free agent. It was just a dumb deal. You can go through mental gymnastics to say that he projected to be worth $100M over 5 years based on WAR, but that overlooks so many obvious reasons that it was bad.

    • Steve Mancuso

      Bailey didn’t spend that much time on the DL early in his career. He made over 20 starts every season. But even if he had, Bailey pitched 200+ innings three times over the five seasons before he signed, including the two right before the contract. Nothing unusual there for a pitcher, except more durability than most.

      I’ll wait for you to provide specific examples of comparable pitchers who signed for way less money and then we can take a look. But you can’t look at Bailey’s career numbers. Use the previous two or three seasons and advanced metrics, which is what the negotiators use. Bailey was a top-20 pitcher (all MLB) in 2013 coming off two 200+ inning seasons of steady improvement.

      Bailey did have leverage. Johnny Cueto was on the DL three times in 2013 and there was no evidence at that point he could stay healthy with his new twisty delivery. The Reds didn’t like Mat Latos. Bailey’s contract came due a year before the others. That’s leverage unless the organization wasn’t planning on extending *any* of their pitchers. It’s easy now to see Cueto, but it wasn’t then. Cueto is going to cost more than two-times what Bailey’s contract cost and cover later years.

      I’ll wait for you to provide any evidence for claim that no one else in the league would have given him close to that money as a free agent. But you won’t find any because that’s a ridiculous assertion. Compare Bailey’s contract to the one Rick Porcello signed, for example.

      I’m surprised you — given the rigorous nature of the articles you write – would refer to WAR projections as “mental gymnastics” as though it’s derogatory. That’s the standard way the value of free agent contracts is determined now. If you don’t agree with the way they are calculated, be specific about it. If you think 3.0 WAR is a bad starting point, defend that. But setting a starting WAR then discounting by aging curve estimates and net present value of salaries is how it’s done.

      • Steve Schoenbaechler

        From May 13, 2007, to Sept. 5, 2014, Homer missed a total of 188 games “because of injury”. If you attempt to consider pitching once in 5 games, he’s missed 37.6 starts. So, in 8 seasons, he’s missed an average of more than 4.5 games per season “because of injury”; and, that comes with two full seasons he apparently missed no starts. I would call that he’s a walking DL waiting to happen.



        “He made over 20 starts every season.” Your standard for “good health” is only 20 starts per season? That’s a low standard, missing 1/3 of your starts.

        You keep going back to what other pitchers are getting, then trying to justify Homer’s with them. First, you can’t only look at what the market is paying; you have to look at what you have to pay, also. For example, just consider it, we don’t pay Homer that much money, we are able to afford a lot better LF than who we got. There are an entire complex of more variables out there to decide what to pay than what the market is. Tom Brady’s market is probably in the neighborhood of $20 million since Peyton is getting just under that. Guess what? Tom Brady is only getting paid $16 million ($10 base + $6 bonus). Who would have thunk it, a QB getting underpaid? Or, could it be, the other QB is getting overpaid?

        But, you want a baseball player? Alright, Lincecum. Two time CY, 4 time AS, double digit wins the last 7 straight seasons, Missed 25 total games in his career (same source as above), which would come out to about a total of 5 games pitched, missing less than one start on average per season. 4 seasons of 200+ innings pitched, 2 other seasons just missing. His salary this season, $18 million. Now, those are numbers way above and beyond what Homer has ever done. Homer’s salary this season may only be $10 million, but next year, jumps to that $18 million mark. One year difference, you are going to try to tell me Homer is equivalant to Lincecum? Yeah, right, and I’ve got some swampland in Florida I can sell you.

        Bailey had leverage to sign a contract like that? While he’s on the DL himself? Dude, please, how far are you going to reach on this? Cueto might have been on the DL 3 times in 2013. But, take out that season, guess how many games Cueto has missed due to injury? 84, since 2008. So, not including 2012, 6 seasons, he missed 14 games, that’s an average if missing 3 starts per. And, Bailey misses 50% more starts than that. Not to mention, just look at what Cueto has done when he’s been in the games pitching, a whole heck of a lot more than Homer has ever done. Top 4 CY the last 3 seasons, AS one season. 200+ innings twice, just missed a third one. ERA almost a full run less than Homer’s. There’s simply no similarity between Cueto and Bailey besides they both are right handed, both play for the Reds, and both are pitchers.

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