This was inevitable, but it may get sticky. It appears that Homer Bailey will be moving to the Cincinnati Reds bullpen:

In a piece over at The Athletic ($, but go subscribe because they’re doing good work), C. Trent Rosecrans noted come comments from Reds manager Jim Riggleman that echoed Fay’s report above:

Bailey was less-than-receptive to the idea, Riggleman said, noting he usually is slow to get his arm to warm up.

“We’ve got a few days to sort it out and see with more to discuss with (pitching coaches) Danny Darwin and Teddy Power, Homer and myself to see how that would work for him,” Riggleman said.

This could get interesting. But as I noted over at Cincinnati Magazine a couple of weeks ago, this is really the only solution, if the Reds are hoping to get any value out of Bailey for the duration of his contract.

So why not try Bailey in the bullpen? I like Homer more than most Reds fans—and I think the Reds were justified in offering him that big contract all those years ago—but 2019 will be his final year in Cincinnati (unless the Reds pick up his option and pay him $25 million for 2020, which is as likely as the chances of me starting at shortstop on Opening Day). The club needs to see if they can get some value out of him before he fades off into the sunset.

Maybe a move to the bullpen will help Homer Bailey finally reach his potential as an ace; it’ll just be as a flame-throwing relief ace. That’s not what we envisioned back in 2012, but it might be the best we can hope for today.

Bailey is 1-7 with a 6.68 ERA in twelve starts; he’s surrendered more hits, more home runs, and allowed more earned runs than any other pitcher in the National League. Something has to give. But expect it to get a little messy along the way.

Blame Chad for creating this mess.

Chad launched Redleg Nation in February 2005, and has been writing about the Reds ever since. His first book, “The Big 50: The Men and Moments That Made the Cincinnati Reds” is now available in bookstores and online, at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and wherever fine books are sold. You can also find Chad’s musings about the Cincinnati Reds in the pages of Cincinnati Magazine.

You can email Chad at chaddotson@redlegnation.com.

Join the conversation! 20 Comments

  1. Chad –
    I sure admire your loyalty to some good guys! I also like Homer – oh what could have been!
    The Reds have been patient and even Homer has to know this can’t continue.

    But, you’re right – it has to happen. It’s also blocking another starter slot that has to get ironed out in 2018.

  2. I am a big Homer Bailey loyal too. Change of scenery will help I hope.

  3. A poor decision that led to a bad contract with even worse results. From DL to starting rotation, to bullpen, back to DL and finally DFA. Just close that chapter and move on.

  4. Seems like the Reds are walking on eggshells with Homer. Remind me again, who exactly is running the asylum?

  5. This is a move in the right direction for the Reds and hopefully for Homer. Hopefully Desclafani can take his spot and be healthy. If a Phil Hughes trade can net a club 7 million, I’d think there is a possibility of a similar deal moving Bailey to a club that needs innings or wants to take a chance on tweaking his mechanics (good idea by JB).

  6. They need leadership hired from outside the organization

  7. I’ve been a big Homer fan too. He came up the summer my wife and I moved back to Cincinnati after being away for 18 years. I am one of those people that kept thinking that it would eventually come together for him. And sometimes it seemed so tantalizingly close. I thought he would be the Reds’ Justin Verlander. Now, you realize how rare guys like Justin Verlander are. If does make it a little easier knowing the Reds have paid Homer $86 million dollars so far over his career, and guaranteed him another $23 million next year. And $5 million more to say goodbye in 2020. He’ll be okay. Better than me anyway …

  8. They can’t send him out to start again. They just can’t.

    …can they?

    I mean…I’m like some of these guys above – I’ve always liked Homer and wanted him to do well. I’ve been frustrated at times by the team’s lack of run support when Homer actually did have good outings in years past. But this is totally different – he’s given up more earned runs (46) than he has strikeouts (38).

    But that would change if he went to the bullpen…with his slow-to-warm-up arm. Hm. Well, what do his 1st-inning stats look like?

    In twelve 1st innings. ERA of 8.25. 11 ERs, 18 hits, two 2B, 4 HR, 7K, 4 BB.

    2nd and 3rd innings don’t get much better:

    https://www.baseball-reference.com/players/split.fcgi?id=baileho02&year=2018&t=p#all_innng

    Folks…I’d get Bronson Arroyo back out of moth balls* before I sent this fine gentleman out there to get shelled one more time.

    * – not really.

  9. Poor Homer! He’s a millionaire, yet can’t quite accept the demotion. But his pitching ….?

    This team can’t hit, field or pitch with any consistency (hello 100 losses!) and I am sure the the Castellini’s and Williams can’t wait to see the fall in revenue from ticket sales and TV viewers. The ratings must be awful. Literally, by August they will have an empty stadium and only a handful (thousands) of viewers.
    By all means, let’s give Homer some more time to figure it all out.

    This is not a rebuild. This is running in place.

  10. “Maybe a move to the bullpen will help Homer Bailey finally reach his potential as an ace; it’ll just be as a flame-throwing relief ace. That’s not what we envisioned back in 2012, but it might be the best we can hope for today.”

    REALLY? FLAME THROWING RELIEF ACE?

  11. Trade him to Houston for a bucket of baseballs and a photo op with the trophy..

  12. I predict this going as well as the BP situation, except without the repeated blocked trade attempts

  13. Wasn’t Homer’s best season 13-10? If I figured correctly his overall record before this season was 66-63. If they could have seen the future it would have been best to trade him after the no-hitter.

  14. It’s a bummer, I had hopes Bailey would lead us to glory……or at least close to .500 this year. The pitching has largely disappointed, with Bailey leading that for sure. I’m glad that management has decided to put team before player, which hasn’t really been the “redsway” the past few years. Next, Adam Duvall?

  15. Really seems like Williams/Jocketty created a mess by using the term “rebuild” at will…almost an out for lack of player performance and accountability. How about every player having to compete for his roster spot or risk losing it no matter the salary? Look at Finnegan’s response to getting demoted. He was awful yet spun it like his poor performance was acceptable. No player accountability and that’s why this team is so bad. Attitude reflects leadership

  16. I have to agree. I felt Homer was never that good in the first place. He had one good season and one decent season. Everywhere else, there simply wasn’t that much. He didn’t deserve that contract. I would have extended Leake first. Then, probably Cueto. I would have probably extended Latos first before Homer. We should have let him walk.

  17. Considering his own pitching career, Ted Power seems like a pretty good guy to maybe open Homer’s eyes on what can be done out of the bullpen.

  18. “Less than receptive”

    He’s lucky he has a job.

    • Seriously! What a sense of entitilement. Same with Finnegan- I guess being mediocre and not competitive is acceptable. God forbid we actually ask these guys to compete or risk losing their jobs

      • Big difference in the two. If Homer is designated for assignment (loses his job), he still gets the remaining money on his contract. Finnegan didn’t have a choice though without forfeiting the rest of this year’s salary and future salary from the Reds. In Homer’s case, the player really does hold all the cards. I think that’s why the Reds want to give him every chance to succeed for them. That money is spent and it’s better for the Reds that the money be productive.

        Sadly, I see this all boiling down to a DFA and Bailey going from team to team the rest of this year and next, eventually washing out by 2020.

Comments are closed.

About Chad Dotson

Blame Chad for creating this mess. Chad launched Redleg Nation in February 2005, and has been writing about the Reds ever since. His first book, "The Big 50: The Men and Moments That Made the Cincinnati Reds" is now available in bookstores and online, at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and wherever fine books are sold. You can also find Chad's musings about the Cincinnati Reds in the pages of Cincinnati Magazine. You can email Chad at chaddotson@redlegnation.com.

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