Al Behrman/Associated Press
It's hard to replace Shin-Soo Choo, an on-base machine who also hit 21 homers and stole 20 bases in his lone season with the Cincinnati Reds. But inserting a rookie who was the opposite of an "on-base machine" in Triple-A last season (.308 OBP) into his lineup spot isn't likely to end well.
The Reds' offense struggled overall with Choo and now the same core of hitters will try to rebound without one of the most productive players in the game at the top of the lineup.
In fact, a very good pitching staff might not be enough to make up for another poor season at the plate. Balancing out the roster while getting strong value back for a pitcher who is very likely to depart as a free agent after the season, isn't a bad idea.
Re-signing Bronson Arroyo on the heels of this trade would certainly help, although top pitching prospect Robert Stephenson is probably ready to step into a big league rotation now. He'll be just 21 on Opening Day and threw only 114.1 innings in 2013, however, so he could be limited. Bringing Arroyo back would allow them to be patient with their prized prospect.
The 27-year-old Bailey, who has pitched like a No. 1 starter at times over the past two seasons, would be traded to his native Texas, while the Rangers would send back second baseman Rougned Odor, third baseman Joey Gallo and starting pitcher Nicholas Tepesch.
Odor would be the heir apparent to Brandon Phillips, although this move would likely facilitate a trade well before Phillips' current contract runs out after the 2017 season. The 19-year-old Odor, who was recently ranked the top prospect in the Rangers' organization by Baseball Prospectus, is blocked at second base for the unforeseeable future by Jurickson Profar. He'll likely play in Triple-A this season.
Gallo is one of the top power-hitting prospects in the minors, although he's still a few years away and has some holes in his game that could cause him to struggle as a major league hitter. Still, he has huge upside and could become a star if he can improve.
Tepesch, who pitched well as a rookie in 2013, would give the team much-needed depth with Bailey out of the picture and a No. 5 starter should they fail to replace him with Arroyo or another veteran.
The trade would be one year of Homer Bailey for six years of Rougned Odor, six years of Joey Gallo and five years of Nicholas Tepesch.
Bailey would help form a dynamic top-of-the-rotation tandem in Texas with Yu Darvish and give the team a reliable innings-eater with Derek Holland out for at least half the season, Matt Harrison returning from back surgery and the injury-prone Alexi Ogando also slotted into the rotation.
Here's a look at what the Rangers' rotation would look like with Bailey:
1 Yu Darvish, RHP
2 Homer Bailey, RHP
3 Matt Harrison, LHP
4 Alexi Ogando, RHP
5 Martin Perez, LHP