Cincinnati Reds should reinstate Homer Bailey as a starter upon return

LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 12: PItcher Homer Bailey #34 of the Cincinnati Reds pitches in the first inning during the MLB game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on May 12, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 12: PItcher Homer Bailey #34 of the Cincinnati Reds pitches in the first inning during the MLB game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on May 12, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images) /
facebooktwitterreddit

Homer Bailey will make a rehab start with the Louisville Bats on Monday night. When Bailey returns to the Cincinnati Reds, he should be reinstated to his starter role rather than placed in the bullpen.

Homer Bailey will get the start tonight for the Cincinnati Reds’ Triple-A affiliate, Louisville Bats, as part of a rehab assignment. Bailey was placed on the disabled list June 2nd with a knee injury. Before going on the DL, the idea of Bailey being placed in the bullpen appeared to be a real option. When he returns, Bailey should retain his spot in the rotation.

Yes, Homer Bailey’s had a rough season. He’s 1-7 with a 6.68 ERA. Bailey, along with teammate Luis Castillo, has also allowed a National League-leading 15 home runs. Bailey allowed only 11 home runs in 18 starts last season.

While the Reds didn’t win any of the first 4 games that Bailey started this season, he wan’t the key reason why. Bailey had 3.42 ERA in his first 4 starts, struck out 16 batters and allowed only 2 home runs. In those 4 games, the Reds scored a combined 5 runs. Bailey can’t be faulted for lack of offensive production.

Now, take a look at the 8 games Bailey played before being put on the DL. In those 8 games he had only 22 strikeouts and an ERA of 8.69. Not to mention, he let 13 balls leave the yard via the home run.

Even over the course of the last four seasons, in which Bailey has never been fully healthy, did he pitch that poorly. From 2014-2017, Bailey started 49 games with a 4.95 ERA.

Now those seasons are nowhere near Bailey’s best, but at least they’re serviceable. In 23 games during 2014, he allowed 16 home runs – one more than he has through 12 games this season.

Could it be that Bailey was not 100%? Maybe. After spending more time on the disabled list over the previous 4 seasons than he did on the mound, is it possible Bailey was being stubborn and wanted to play through injury? Perhaps.

Regardless, the idea was floated about moving Homer Bailey to the bullpen. In late May, manager Jim Riggleman, via MLB.com, said as much.

"“We talked with Homer earlier today. We’re contemplating moving him to the bullpen. It’s going to be a real transition. We’ve got a few days to sort it out and see, with more to discuss with Danny Darwin and Teddy Power, Homer and myself to see how that would work for him.”"

Bailey has never thrown out of the bullpen before. Since he’s come to the majors he’s always been a starter. Riggleman even admitted that Bailey would be apprehensive about going to the bullpen for fear of not being able to warm up properly. Here’s another quote from Riggleman via MLB.com.

Next: Jared Hughes has been dominant

"“He just knows his body. He feels like it takes him a long time to get ready. He does not envision this as something that would be a smooth transition. He’s pitched a long time, and he’s always been a starter. He’s used to a side day and a couple more days off. Everything is set up. That’s kind of where we are. If something happens in the fourth or fifth inning, you’re only giving him a few hitters to get warm. That probably won’t be enough.”"

So why put Bailey in a position where he’s uncomfortable and cannot help the team? Yes, the argument could be made, that before he went on the DL, he wasn’t helping the team anyway. But this is a player, while far removed from his best performances, has been a fixture in the Cincinnati Reds starting rotation since he arrived to the big leagues.

Is the fact that Bailey is starting a game in Louisville an indicator that the Reds have decided to keep Bailey in the starters role? Or, is it just an effort to get him as much work as possible for his stint on the DL is over?

Who gets demoted?

If Bailey returns, who is most likely to get demoted? Well, we know that Matt Harvey, Anthony DeSclafani and Luis Castillo are likely not going anywhere. Tyler Mahle has been pitching very well of late and the Reds have won during his previous 3 starts.

That leaves Sal Ramano as the most likely candidate to be dropped from the rotation if Bailey returns to his starting role. Romano is 1-4 over his last 5 starts and has an ERA of 10.72.

More will come out over the next several days as it relates to Homer Bailey and his status as a starting pitcher for the Cincinnati Reds. The organization has made some questionable decisions lately, and regardless of which way the Reds go with Bailey, there will be question marks surrounding that decision as well.