It's been said before that you have to break some eggs to make an omelet.
This old adage is very similar to what the Reds have with Homer Bailey. There is no denying that the former first round pick will help the club win many games in 2014. But it's also looking like this upcoming season will be his last in the Cincinnati organization.
This is because the native Texan will be hitting the free agent market next winter and is on par to score a contract much too pricey for Cincinnati's checkbook. Plus, Bailey has shown no willingness to ink a contract extension with the franchise he has spent his entire professional career with.
So, this essentially leaves the Reds with two options. They can either let Bailey play out what will likely be his go around in a Reds uniform or they can explore the idea of trading him.
Count Cincinnati Enquirer's John Fay as one who believes the Reds should at least explore the possibility of moving Bailey and his exorbitant salary. The following is an excerpt taken from Fay's piece that was published in Saturday's edition of the paper:
Because of the payroll restraints, the Reds would have to move salary to add salary. One thing I could see happening is trading Homer Bailey. Bailey is in his final year of arbitration. He’s due to make about $9 million this year and he’ll be eligible for free agency in 2015.
If the Reds are certain they aren’t going to be able to re-sign Bailey, it makes sense to move him. If they get someone in return who doesn’t make a lot of money – say, Brett Gardner of the Yankees – they may be able to sign Arroyo.
There are certainly pros and cons to weigh about shipping the right-hander out of the Queen City. On one hand, Bailey gives the Reds an ace-caliber arm in the starting rotation, one that has shown the ability to be dominant when he's on top of his game. Losing him would no doubt be a blow to the staff.
However, the Reds are in a position to sustain losing Bailey to a trade if they choose to, with an already formidable starting five consisting of Mat Latos, Mike Leake, Tony Cingrani, Johnny Cueto, and perhaps Aroldis Chapman (if needed). And as Fay noted, freeing up payroll space by trading Bailey could open the door to bring Arroyo back for one last stint, further solidifying the rotation. This is not the mention the package of prospects or other major league pieces the Reds could obtain in exchange for Bailey.
If the Reds decide to do nothing, the likely scenario involves Bailey posting another productive season in 2014, and then riding off into the sunset by signing with another team in the offseason. If the Reds make a qualifying offer, which I assume they would, the club would stand to receive a compensatory pick between the first and second rounds, similar to the one they received when Shin-Soo Choo pledged his services to the Texas Rangers. If the Reds decided to work out a trade, whether it come before the season or during, they would reel in much more compensation in the probable likes of top prospects and/or major league ready players. It's a conundrum that Reds brass must make sense of over the not-so-distant future.