What Does The Cincinnati Reds Signing of Homer Bailey Mean Long-Term?

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Updated: February 28, 2014

On February 19th, the Reds and pitcher Homer Bailey finalized a six-year, $105 million contract to avoid going to arbitration and to keep the young rising star with Reds for the foreseeable future. It is great to see the Reds making deals like this and keep their talent, even when they get to the point in their careers where they will be making more money, but what does the Bailey contract mean for the Reds long term?

Going into this offseason, it was believed that the Reds and Bailey would not be able to reach a contract agreement before heading to an arbitration hearing. Then came the rumors that Bailey wanted $100+ contract to stay long term with any organization, let alone the Reds. Then came the talks of maybe trading Bailey instead of paying that enormous amount of money to him.

When looking at Bailey’s number, some might say that the Reds got a bit of a deal on a six-year $105 million contract. Many will look at his career win-loss record of 49-45 and say that the Reds drastically overpaid for Bailey. If they dug a bit deeper into his statistics, they would find that Bailey has actually been pitching really well. Bailey has improved his ERA every year that he has pitched at the Major League level, except for 2007 to 2008. He has also increased his number of strikeouts each season except for 2007 to 2008. His WHIP (Walks + Hit / Innings Pitched) has dropped every year, as well.

It is hard to imagine that after giving this kind of money to Bailey the Reds would be able to do the same thing with Mat Latos and Johnny Cueto when their time for a new contract comes up. Latos will be arbitration eligible after this season and will be eligible for free agency after the 2015 season, while Cueto will be a free agent after the 2014 season.

Latos will be 26 this season and is coming off one of his best MLB seasons where he went 14-7 with an ERA of 3.16. Cueto spent a lot of 2013 injured but he did post a record of 5-2 in 11 starts with a 2.82 ERA. Cueto is two years older than Latos. It will be interesting to see how the front office handles these two. Both have proven they can be an ace on almost any MLB staff. Cueto’s injury plagued 2013 could be a factor when it comes to deciding between the two.

Another name that could be effected by the Bailey deal is Aroldis Chapman. Chapman is coming off of back to back 38 save seasons. A lot has been made about Chapman and whether or not he should be a starter or closer. It will be interesting to see what happens when it comes time to talk about his contract and what numbers will be thrown around. The nice thing for the Reds is that the earliest that he could become a free agent is 2017. Luckily for the Reds, they will have two years where they can work on arbitration with Chapman.

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