The Cincinnati Reds should make decisions about Homer Bailey with the idea of trading him in the forefront.
The Cincinnati Reds need to view Homer Bailey’s contract as both an asset and a liability. It’s an asset because if he is healthy they can turn Bailey into a younger player. It’s a liability because someone is paying Bailey $68-million over the next three years, even though he has lost his reliability.
Given the Reds market size, any chance to turn the liability into an asset should be taken. It isn’t clear what happened with Bailey at the end of the season. If it is a matter of endurance that Bailey will never regain, the Reds could make Bailey a reliever. Choosing who to close with, intending to create trade interest, isn’t a new idea.
In this wacky baseball world a multi-inning reliever is the in thing. If Bailey could work the middle inning for the Reds and prove himself healthy the first half of the season, he could be a wanted player at the trade deadline. A deal then would require the Reds to pay about half of his salary for a team to bite, though.
If his endurance issue can be built up, the Reds should use Bailey in a way that would get the most interest. It’s things like taking Bailey out when he might be in danger of surrendering the lead or if he starts to tire. Once he gets through five innings, anything is game.
The Cincinnati Reds need to make sure that Bailey is healthy this time around instead of allowing false starts.
Bailey’s constant coming and going wears on the fans, right or not. When the Reds tell everyone that he is returning, the fans expect to see him starting every fifth day. This start and stop must stop.
It is possible that Bailey will never pitch normally again in the majors. That isn’t the worst case scenario for the Reds. The worst case scenario is that he keeps stopping and starting, not allowing the Reds to plan.
Really, that is the crux of the matter. Beyond taking up salary, he is also taking a roster spot, and not allowing the Reds to plan their rotation month to month. It’s tough to know whether the Reds need a front line pitcher or a number five starter.
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Whatever the Reds can do to make Bailey an asset is what they must do. Whether he pitches for the Reds long term or another team, his career is on the line. There is no more room for five starts and a trip to the DL.