Yesterday, the Cincinnati Reds and Homer Bailey agreed to a 6-year, $105 million contract with an option for a seventh year. The 27 year old Texan is coming off of his best season with 11 wins, 199 strikeouts, and a 3.49 ERA. Additionally, he has been one of the staples of the Reds’ pitching staff for the past few seasons. All that being said, is he really worth an average of $17.5 million per year? I am contending that he is not and the Reds are simply clutching on to one of the few above average starting pitchers they have in their arsenal. Also, $105 million is quite a bit to dish out for the third starter in your rotation, especially with less than stellar numbers over the course of his career.
With an average ERA of 4.12 and back to back career highs in strikeouts with 168 and 199 respectively, Bailey has shown solid improvement year in and year out. However, lackluster win loss records have plagued him throughout his career. His best record came two seasons ago at 13-10. Additionally, he has barely had a season well above a .500 win percentage. The strikeout numbers have always been there but that can lead to a high pitch count game in and game out. Lastly, strikeouts don’t seem to equate to wins for Bailey when looking at his career statistics.
Even with the increase in innings pitched, Bailey’s wins have not been very impressive. Although he has seen a spike in strikeouts, the wins are not following. From a GM’s perspective, that should not justify such a big contract especially as they are coming off of a playoff loss from division rival Pittsburgh. With the league leading pitching staff in WHIP and opposing batting average, the Reds clearly do not need much work in this category. Perhaps a better investment would have been in someone who can produce runs along with Joey Votto.
Regardless of my critiques of the Reds’ front office it is clear that they have been doing something right regarding their pitching staff. With top 5 numbers as a staff in four major statistical categories, they are a clear force to reckon with on the mound. It will be interesting to see how this contract will factor in years to come and if Bailey will prove to be a more dominant force on the mound.