The Cincinnati Reds announced that Homer Bailey will continue his rehab assignment as a starting pitcher, and when his rehab is up that he will return to the rotation. This was first reported by Bobby Nightengale of The Cincinnati Enquirer.

There are a few angles to this, but let’s start out specifically as it relates to Homer Bailey. He’s made four starts, and one relief appearance in Louisville, and things haven’t exactly gone well. He’s posted a 5.84 ERA in 24.2 innings, allowed 30 hits, four home runs, walked four batters, and he’s struck out just 15 hitters.

However, his first two appearances on rehab resulted in 12 earned runs and 16 hits with just three walks in 9.0 innings. In the three appearances since then Homer Bailey has performed much better. In 15.2 innings he’s allowed 14 hits, walked two batters, and he struck out 12.

It was the final of those three appearances that came out of the bullpen. He threw 2.0 shutout innings in that game. For whatever reason – that plan has been scrapped. There wasn’t a let’s try this again in a few days plan involved to see how he would recover – he got a full starters rest period between his previous start and that appearance, and now he’ll get that again before starting.

It’s very easy to sit here at my desk in Colerain Township, 17 miles from Great American Ballpark and tell Bob Castellini how to spend his money. And maybe if I had more money than I knew what to do with, I’d act a little bit differently, too. But it’s not easy to just “cut” Homer Bailey like it seems many fans want to. Not today. Not when he’s still owed roughly $38,000,000 including the buyout for 2020 that is $5,000,000.

Perhaps the Reds saw something in that last start in Louisville where Bailey struck out eight batters in 6.2 innings and thought he could still help them in the rotation. It would be odd to then put him in the bullpen, like they did, if that were the case, but it’s certainly possible. Maybe the call came from the top, that he’s not being paid that much to come out of the bullpen. That too, is certainly possible.

But, all of those things are only about Homer Bailey. Unfortunately for the Reds, they have to think about more than just Homer Bailey and what this means. If Homer Bailey is joining the rotation, as stated, that means there’s less than two weeks before someone in the current rotation is out of a job. Or it means that someone is traded. Matt Harvey, of course, is the prime candidate for that as an impending free agent who was acquired with the sole purpose of being fixed, and then flipped, at the trade deadline.

That also begs the question of, even if a spot in the rotation does open up for Homer Bailey, is it a better move for the organization to give that spot to Bailey, or to give it to Robert Stephenson? Stephenson will be out of options following this season. He’s performed well, even if inconsistent, all season in Louisville. And right now, he’s on a stretch of very good performances for the Bats. For as much as I hope the Reds can compete for something real in 2019, and I don’t think it’s impossible that they do, Homer Bailey isn’t likely a part of the future for this organization. And it’s possible that Robert Stephenson isn’t, either. But it’s also far more likely that he is, and that he will be around the next time the team is playing for something real in September.

Wouldn’t it be beneficial for the Cincinnati Reds to figure out some things with Robert Stephenson as it pertains to 2019? Can he get big leaguers out for the next two months? And if not, do we send him into the offseason with the plan that he’s going to be heading into the spring fighting for a spot in the bullpen if that is the case? We generally know what Homer Bailey is, and even if he can return to form, somewhat, he’s still not coming back after 2019. The information that could be had with Stephenson getting those 15 starts down the stretch just seem far more valuable than whatever it is that Homer Bailey will bring you – even if he performs well.


51 Responses

  1. ohiojim

    A 3.30 ERA over MLB 11 starts in August and September 2017 got BobSteve the bum’s rush and a ticket to Louisville.

    • Bob Anderson

      Guy had more quality starts in that time than Homer the last 3 years in total. Bailey should be boo’d and ran off the field.

  2. Greenfield Red

    I was hoping he wouldn’t be back. I think most here agree.

    Here’s a question. If Harvey pitches well and is not traded, is he eligible for a qualifying offer from the Reds? May be a good move.

    • ohiojim

      No, under the current CBA Harvey cannot be made a qualifying offer by the Reds or any future 2018 club because he was traded (to the Reds) after the start of the regular season.

  3. Doc

    I just hope that Bailey is treating like everyone else. Perform well and he keeps his spot. Doesn’t perform and he is out.

    I agree that I would have preferred youngsters to get the starts but, like you, I don’t have that kind of cash either,

    Might Romano or Castillo head back to AAA since both have options, and BobSteve gets his chance?

    • Cguy

      Romano only has 1 option. If he is sent down to Louisville this season, then he has to make the 25 man out of ST in 2019 or be designated. Not good. Big Sal needs to stay in the rotation, demoted to bullpen action, or placed on the DL. If the Reds use up Romano’s last option to give Homer his ?? chance to stay in the rotation, it’s stupid & senseless.

      • Cguy

        What appears dissappointiing to me is that if the Bailey for Harvey switch-out occurs if/when Harvey is traded, & Stephenson gets the call up later this year to replace Castillo or Romano; then that’s it. Reds braintrust is not anticipating the Reds acquiring a ML ready sp prospect for Harvey, Scooter, or Iglesias. Sad. I had hoped at least 1 new sp/sp prospect would be added this trading season.

      • Bob Anderson

        That just was not happening. They will be traded to build assets for this winter. If you thought a major league ready pitcher was coming back……….lol

  4. Dave

    This smells like Bob Castellini is making baseball decisions. I don’t understand why the writers and bloggers don’t pick up on this and criticize it more? Why are people so afraid of “Bob”?

    • Doug Gray

      I feel like I’ve basically said that more than a few times.

      The problem is that you generally don’t get to talk to Castellini (and the bloggers literally never do). Daugherty, for all of the stuff he writes that makes me want to slam a heavy door on my head, had some stuff earlier this year with Castellini that was basically Castellini saying he’s making baseball decisions without realizing that he was actually making baseball decisions.

      • Dave

        How do we call out the obvious with an ill informed owner making baseball decisions? I agree you have noted this before. I think this will be the doom of the rebuild/“reboot”!!!!!!!

  5. PickleRiiiick

    My thoughts on who’s spot in the rotation is currently most in jeapordy:
    1 – Matt Harvey – By the time Homer’s journey is complete MH will likely be elsewhere – in else’s rotation.
    2 – Luis Castillo – not just because he is killing my fantasy team – perhaps time to iron things out in the Ville. Not going deep. Burden on pen.
    3 – Sal? – Possible

  6. Jim t

    Astros send Ken Giles to the minors. Have to believe they will be looking for bull pen help.

  7. Big B

    I think this puts everything on Homer Bailey, stubborn Texan he is. It’s gonna be sink or swim when he comes back. Don’t get me wrong, I am a big fan, but I see what management is doing here.

  8. L. Millee

    So, pouting and throwing a tantrum works ? When he got demoted to the bullpen he whined about it. Then he goes to Louisville and throws batting practice. What a waste of money.

  9. Brad

    Who gets called up to replace Rainey Friday? Brice? Peralta? Weiss?

  10. Bubba Woo

    Just like any business, you have to realize when a cost is sunk. The Reds are on the hook for the 25 million they owe him, so why compound the damage by allowing him to cost you games by taking away starts from Castillo/Stephenson/Santillan. Either cut him and eat the contract, ore use him like they use Jackson Stephens out of the pen (i.e. eat up innings in blowouts)

    • Wes

      Mr Hyde:Especially bc you pay him over the contract and not when cut. The money is already budgeted and the money is already wasted. He’s been one of the worst performers in mlb since he came back from injury. Move on already.

      Dr Jykel: bring homer up! great way to tank and take a loss every 5th day!

      • Joe McManus

        He could have some value as a middle reliever? Probably not, but worth a try. Can’t be worse than Stephens. Also willing to give Rainey a leash with that heat, but can if that cheese isn’t flat. Kipnis
        crushed him.

    • Colorado Red

      We got an owner who does not know when to cut someone.
      Yes it is sunk cost, but Bob thinks just maybe he will turn it around.
      About as much chance of that as me being the 46th POTUS. 0%

      • Joe McManus

        I’d vote for you, Colorado, all things considered

  11. Norwood Nate

    I agree about Stephenson. The Reds really need to get him in the rotation, and trading Harvey offers a good option to do that. Bailey coming back to the rotation complicates things, likely doesn’t make it better, and takes opportunity from guys that need time to sort things out.

    My biggest concern with BobSteve is that the Reds will stick him in the bullpen next season simply by not giving him a real chance to make it as a starter in the ML. His only extended time as a starter he pitched well to finish last season, but he’s yet to get a chance to show anything this year.

  12. Daytonian

    Homer coming back as a starter? … Say it ain’t so, Joe!

  13. rick in boise

    By the way, did you see Alex Blandino’s 0 ERA outing on the mound tonight? 1 H, 0 BB, 2 K’s! Dang… (Reds were already down 19-4)

  14. Kap

    A few things have been on my mind about the reds lately.

    1. DW stated that he wants to add payroll. Free agent signing, trade, or both. To me it doesn’t seem like the reds are selling anymore at all. No Iglesias or scooter trades (doing the opposite of what was stated)

    2. If scooter isn’t traded, what happens to senzel? Would the reds dare to trade him? Senzel could net degrom or syndergaard. Hmmmm…..

    3. When is it time to promote herget?

    4. Can’t wait for Homer’s contract to be over

    • Joe McManus

      I love Nick the Stick but if he brings back deGrom… Trigger pulled

    • Alex Reds

      If Reds trade Senzel for Degrom, we will be rebuilding for another 8 years. With Reds luck Degrom will be hurt, or get hurt right after signing a Bailey contract; and Gennett will end up not performing well in another year or two – while Senzel will be a 6 year cost controlled all star, significantly outperforming both Gennett and Degrom.
      Senzel to the Braves for a proven major league starter in their first or second year makes the most sense. Sean Newcomb for example.

      • Kap

        The Reds need a frontline starter in order to take the next step. It takes talent to get talent.

        Besides, there’s no guarantee senzel will be good in the majors. Brandon Larson was good in college and the minors we all saw how that story ended. Not to mention the lingering vertigo thing

      • CP

        Kap, Senzel is as close to a sure thing of being good in the major leagues as you get out of a minor league prospect. I’m open to anything that will make the Reds a better team for years to come, but they better get an absolute haul in return if they trade away Senzel

      • RedsinWashst

        Senzel will be a very good player, much better defensively then Scooter and cost us much less. For awhile anyway. Lets not make the same mistakes we have made in the past. Chapman, Cozart, Bruce etc. and hold on to players too long. Scooter is as high as he is going to be.

    • Leonard Maurice

      If they want to keep Scooter around, they need to try him in the outfield, so they can have Scooter / Schebler / Winker in the outfield going forward, clearing a spot for Senzel.

      If they want to trade Scooter, then they should keep him at 2B and send him out by the end of the month.

      The most likely scenario is that the little run of wins will fill them with foolhardy visions of competing this year, meaning they will keep Scooter all year, and at 2B. And they will push off the Senzel thing one more year.

      • AllTheHype

        I don’t think so. That’d be the worst OF defense in the history of baseball.

  15. Alex Reds

    I’m fine with Homer Bailey back to the rotation. It’s at least worth a shot to see if he can turn it around. Two pretty good recent outings in Louisville. If he gets shelled repeatedly, cut him then. No point to cut him now coming off some decent AAA outings. Bailey Helps to tank where we are now starting to slide into 10th in the draft which is not a good spot to be. Want to be in the top 5, at worst 8. Stephenson can still replace Castillo in AAA swap or move Romano to bullpen. Injuries / innings limits will likely hit the starters later on. I do think we need to find out what we have with Stephenson as a starter in the majors this year while you can afford it and he proves himself, earns another year at AAA starter, or proves he’s going to the bullpen.

  16. redlegs4ever

    Stephenson should already be in the rotation, so I don’t think we can say Homer coming back as a starter is a bad move because it doesn’t give Robert a spot he should already have.

    Let’s break down what we know. We know Homer Bailey when healthy is a good Major League starting pitcher. We know by the time Homer is coming back Matt Harvey SHOULD be traded. With Harvey gone the only guy we know is a big league caliber starter is Disco. I think we all have faith in Castillo still but his arm angle is all over the place, wouldn’t hurt him to spend some time in Louisville or even a DL stint with some rehab in the instructional league. We know Sal Romano and Tyler Mahle AREN’T big league caliber starting pitchers, it was nice to see them have a good little run against the Royals and Tigers and Newark Bears. But every time these guys face a legit ML lineup they get lit up like a Christmas Tree. I don’t know if it’s better to transition those 2 to relief or keep them starting in AAA, that’s a thought for another day. So to conclude we know Disco is your #1, Homer slides in at #2, Bob Steve deserves a chance for a spot and maybe you keep Castillo going and you live with one of Sal or Mahle for the time being. In a perfect world maybe the price is right for Degrom or Syndergaard to push everyone down the line and we can start thinking of contending again. Either way with what happens with Homer, Castillo, Bob, etc this organization HAS to supplement the rotation from outside to compete again, and I’m not talking bringing in a veteran 5 starter either. Probably have to look at moving Senzel for the best top of the rotation arm you can get with at least a couple years of control. Tough ask.

    • RedsinWashst

      Respectfully no. He has never been a good major league pitcher. Maybe for a year or 2. But now that he has lost 5-6 mph on his fastball he definitely is not. Just because Mahle was lit up last night does not mean he is not major league ready. Bailey is also not good in the club house. So he will be taking inning from Bob/steve. I agree that the only thing here that makes sense is that the owner has stepped in.

      • redlegs4ever

        First Homer has been a good pitcher, stats say that. And to be honest he was looking a like a good pitcher again before the knee injury.

        Secondly Homer has not lost 5-6 mph, his career high in average fastball velocity is 94.4 (when he was 23) This year it is 92.9.

        Thirdly I’m not basing my opinions on Mahle or Sal for that matter on one start. Mahle has no 3rd pitch, and his 2nd one is hit and miss, and he gets absolutely tuned up by lefthanders. He needs to discover a legit changeup and that’s not gonna happen overnight starting in the big leagues, whether he goes to AAA to work on a change or the bullpen to be put in situations to succeed is up for another debate.

        Lastly there is absolutely ZERO evidence Homer Bailey is bad in the clubhouse, that is complete speculation on your part and sounds like nothing more than sour grapes with all due respect.

      • Doug Gray

        Homer Bailey was arguably one of the best 20 starting pitchers on the planet from 2012-2014 before he got hurt. I’ve shown the data more than a few times before. It holds up. The idea that he was never good is ridiculous.

      • redlegs4ever

        You really need to add an edit button in the comments section Doug, either that or I need to proofread my posts but that’s a lot of work lol.

      • Doug Gray

        You need to proofread because the edit function slows down the site. Used to have one. Not worth the trade off at all.

  17. AMDG

    From 2008 to 2013 Bailey’s ERA had improved each year. His WHIP had improved each year. His K’s had improved each year. He was coming off back to back 200 IP seasons, with ERA’s around 3.50

    He had turned into a reliable, middle of the rotation starter. A long-term contract for a #3 type of starter was a reasonable pursuit for Bailey.

    So a 6-year deal for a pitcher who had been healthy, and had turned into a solid starter was reasonable.

    But the contract the Reds offered was not reasonable. They obviously gambled that the trend towards improvement would continue, and he would magically develop into a #1 starter.

    They paid him for the player that they hoped he would become – not for the player that he was.

    It was a bad deal from the get-go, which looks worse with the injuries and subsequent poor pitching.

    • AirborneJayJay

      There is only one way ML teams have to re-coup money on these bad longer term contracts. The popularity of players having opt-out clauses in the contracts is gaining. Teams will have to start to put language in contracts that gives them 1 opt-out opportunity. On 5 year deals, the team has a chance to opt-out after year 3. It will be a guaranteed contract for 3 years, but not 5. The last 2 years will depend upon player performance. The MLBPA union won’t like it, but something has to be done about these bad contracts. If teams could have opt-outs then there probably won’t be the free agent fiasco we saw this past winter with teams shying away from signing free agent players. I heard something on MLB Network radio the other day that less than 20% of these long term free agent contracts work out to the benefit of the team. If players and their agents can get 1 or 2 opt-out clauses in these long term deals, the teams should have that ability also. If that were to happen, we would probably see more signings of the type with players that have less than 1 or 2 years played get some long term deals that take up some arbitration years and possibly a free agent year or 2.

  18. AirborneJayJay

    This commitment to Bailey by the Reds front office just muddies the waters even more on the rotation.
    Some things are clear though. It is time for the Reds to send Stephens and Rainey back to Louisville. In their stead, send up Kevin Quackenbush and Cody Reed. But a 40-man roster spot will have to be found for K-Quack. Who loses their 40-man roster spot? This should happen before the St. Louis series, but over the all-star break at the latest.
    As for the rotation, over the all-star break, send Luis Castillo to Louisville to iron out some bad wrinkles. His confidence is waning on the mound. As soon as he lets a couple of batters on base, his body language on the mound looks like he starts pressing and gets in deeper trouble. In Castillo’s spot, the Reds should promote Robert Stephenson. The post all-star rotation order should be DeSclafani, Harvey, Mahle, Stephenson, and Romano. Then when Bailey comes back and activated from the DL, Romano goes to the pen and Bailey takes the #5 rotation spot.
    Harvey, you might ask? Well the Reds front office will severely fumble their attempt to trade Harvey before the July 31 deadline. They will have their excuses lined up, but they won’t get it done. they then will try a waiver-wire August trade. they will have to expose Harvey to revocable waivers and a team will claim him thus blocking the trade. The Reds will pull Harvey back from waivers this time. They will try again and will have to expose Harvey to waivers again. And Harvey gets claimed and the Reds will not be able to pull him back this time. The Reds lose Harvey to a waiver wire claim and the Reds get nothing in return. That is how the Harvey saga will end in Cincinnati.

  19. CP

    If Homer Bailey ends up in the Reds rotation without proving he deserves to be there it has to be such a discouragement to guys like Bob Steve and Cody Reed. All these guys have done is go out there and do everything they can to deserve another shot and the FO goes and gives their shot to someone who clearly does NOT deserve to be there. I understand the financial commitments to Bailey, but if they are serious about building a winner they have to stop making decisions with their heart and pocket book and be willing to make the hard decisions. The fans will understand why Bailey isn’t in the big league rotation. Heck we all here are the fans and are all saying as much!

  20. DogHairs

    Homer Bailey’s contract was the biggest mistake the organization has made in 15 years. Letting him pitch again in the starting rotation makes little sense to me for anything other than financial reasons.