Cincinnati Reds need conclusion to the Homer Bailey experience

Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports /

After pitching two no-hitters for the Cincinnati Reds, Homer Bailey needs to return for good or leave.

The Cincinnati Reds have to force the issue with Bailey.  This constant wobble between injury status and top line pitcher cannot continue.  He needs to get healthy or hit the road for the Reds to be successful in the future.

Bailey is the second highest paid Red behind perennial MVP candidate Joey Votto.  In 2017 Bailey will be paid $19-million.  To put that into perspective, the entire rest of the pitching staff will likely make less money in 2017.  The other eleven projected members of the pitching staff will make an estimated $13-million with some modest increases.  Raisel Iglesias is scheduled to earn the second most behind Bailey at $3.5-million.

It goes beyond just producing on the field, too.  Bailey can’t be a leader when he is pitching in Cincinnati while the rest of the team is on road trips.  Bailey has to be one of the staff, not some guy that starts ten disjointed games per season.

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Can Bailey return to starting?

It’s time to consider whether Bailey’s future is in the bullpen or the rotation.  The Reds are in desperate need of another starter to support the four that they have found success with in 2016: Anthony DeSclafani, Dan Straily, Brandon Finnegan & Robert Stephenson.  Those four are close to locks for the rotation coming out of spring.  The Reds need one more legit innings eater to complete the quintet.

61. Homer Bailey has gone from the top starter in the Cincinnati Reds rotation to an after thought. He can not longer be counted on to be the guy, but just a guy. Now he must re-establish himself, if he wants to earn the trust and respect of the Reds’ fans again.. . Previous: 1st. Homer Bailey, SP. 4

This season Bailey only pitched in six games, throwing 23 innings.  He only made it through five in half of those games.  He did make each of those six starts in his correct turn of the rotation.  Given that he only lasted one inning in his last start, that may have been the wrong decision.

The time has come for the Reds to look at Bailey as a possible closing option.  They have done a great job turning Michael Lorenzen and Raisel Iglesias into a one-two late inning punch, but Bailey may make more sense.  If Bailey moves into the closer role, then Iglesias can make another attempt at being a back end of the rotation starter.

Bailey has the stuff to close.  He has 859 strikeouts over 1033 career innings.  That ratio would only go up with a more structured bullpen utilization.  He could also move away from one of his fastballs and his splitter, if he closed.  He could even just go four-seamer and curveball.

Next: Straily deserves extension from Reds

Whatever the Cincinnati Reds do with Bailey, now is the time.  Another season of this indecision could kill a decent rotation in the making.  Now is the time for the front office to end the Bailey experience one way or the other, if they finally want this rebuild to be successful.