Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Jim Bowden: Homer Bailey one of five pitchers set to receive big payday in 2015

Unless the Reds can find a tree nearby Great American Ball Park that produces endless amounts of cash, it seems unlikely they will be able to retain Homer Bailey beyond this upcoming season. In fact, some believe Bailey may not be around at all once the July 31 trade deadline comes and goes in 2014.

Regardless of what happens, barring the two sides reaching a contract extension, Bailey is all set to become one of the most sought after pitchers on the free agent market next winter, which also makes the native Texan in line to receive a huge payday. But how many years and how much money might the right-hander be projected to receive? ESPN Insider and Sirius XM radio host Jim Bowden provides his thoughts on the matter in a recent post where he highlights five pitchers set to sign big contracts come 2014.

Bailey has the potential to lead a staff, but projecting his free-agent contract this early is tricky. The 28-year-old is just entering the prime of his career and has the talent, repertoire and maturity to break out this year, which could lead to a monster contract -- if he doesn't sign a contract extension with the Reds before next offseason. For the Reds, the best time to sign him is now, otherwise he could become too expensive next fall. 

Bailey has had back-to-back solid years, winning in double digits, posting ERAs in the mid-3s and logging more than 200 innings in each. If he does live up to his potential this season and posts another season at that level, watch out. He could end up with a much bigger contract than the one predicted here. 

For the record, Bowden predicts that Bailey will receive a contract worth $102 million over six seasons. Bowden also puts the percentage chance of Bailey leaving Cincinnati at 50 percent and lists the Yankees, Braves, Dodgers, Angels, Blue Jays, and Cubs as potential suitors.

It's a shame if the Reds won't be able to afford him. The organization has invested so much in Bailey since drafting him in the first round of the 2004 draft. We have seen the 28-year-old pitch through his highest of highs (two no-hitters) and his lowest of lows (mighty struggles in mid-2000s). It took awhile for Bailey to finally develop into the ace caliber pitcher everyone hoped he would be, but the fact is that he has blossomed into that kind of pitcher now, and it's unfortunate that another franchise with deeper pockets will likely get to revel in the spoils produced by Cincinnati's years of diligent grooming.


Keith Hall said...

Homer Bailey an "ace" caliber pitcher. Give me a break. While it is true that he has potential, that is what everyone has been saying about him ever since the Reds brought him up. Yes, he has 2 no-hitters and COULD be poised to do some good things. He is also barely above .500 for his career with a career ERA of somewhere around 4.25. That, folks, is NOT an "ace". In fact, in my day, that wasn't even good enough to make the staff of any quality team. With stats like that he would only have been in the rotation of a lower quality non-contender. It could be argued in fact that he was truly the Reds #4 or #5 starter. He certainly doesn't rank ahead of Cueto or Latos currently. Arroyo had a long career of dependable quality service which Homer can't claim. Even Mike Leake has had as much , if not more, success than Homer. How in the world does that make him "ace" quality ? Yes, he has great stuff but many guys with great stuff never become successful, never live up to that big word "potential". Whether Homer ever will is yet to be seen but, as of now, not even close yet.

Jimmi Adair said...

Agree to respectfully disagree, Keith. I do realize that Bailey has been susceptible to mediocre pitching performances in the past, but he has continued to show steady improvement and growth, especially over the last two seasons. And given his age (27), and career trajectory, he is on the brink of stardom, possibly. What he did pre-2010 is not a good indication of what he will likely do over the next handful of years. He is a much more seasoned pitcher now in addition to entering the prime of his career. Does he need to be more consistent? Absolutely. But to say Bailey is a No. 4 or No. 5 starter at best, at this juncture of time, is asinine.

Anonymous said...

The reason for the wide divergence here is simply the difference between potential and performance. Bailey is on a rising curve but there is a real question regarding how far one can go on mere potential.

Anonymous said...

I don't believe the Reds are a team that can pay that kind of money for "potential" superstar. The Yankees, Dodgers, Cubs ect. can all afford to take that gamble and not blink an eye. He will be gone by July if the team struggles at all.