Homer Bailey is set to become another $100 million pitcher in Major League Baseball.
The Cincinnati Reds reportedly will re-sign one of their top starters to a huge contract, per Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports:
The Reds confirmed the news on their Twitter account on Thursday:
Reds, Bailey agree to 6-year deal through 2019, mutual option for 2020. Avoid arbitration.— Reds (@Reds) February 20, 2014
General manager Walt Jocketty commented on the deal (via C. Trent Rosencrans of Cincinnati.com)
We’re very excited about it and pleased. Homer is home-grown, was drafted, signed and developed in our organization. It’s important as an organization to reward our players that have earned this type of respect with these types of contracts and to keep them as part of the organization for a long time and hopefully end their careers here — he’ll still be pretty young when this contract’s up, though. He’s worked hard. He’s really overcome a lot of obstacles and he’s grown a lot in the few years I’ve been here and seeing how he’s matured into one of the top pitchers in the game today. As an organization and for me personally, it’s a great day. I know ownership is very excited about this and approved everything we did. We couldn’t find a better guy to sign and keep i the organization for a long time. Pitching is very important to this organization, and our philosophy of pitching and defense and we feel now Homer will be with us for a number of years to anchor the rotation and hopefully to championships.
Bailey has not always been one of the most consistent pitchers for the Reds, but he has thrown two no-hitters in his career and finished with a 3.49 ERA in the 2013 season in 32 starts for the club.
Though the 27-year-old finished with an 11-12 record in 2013, Matt Snyder of CBS Sports gives a little insight on why his record was deceiving:
Bailey, 27, was 11-12 with a 3.49 ERA (110 ERA+), 1.12 WHIP and 199 strikeouts in 209 innings pitched last season. The record could have been better, but the Reds scored two or fewer runs in 14 of Bailey's 32 starts.
Is Bailey worth the money?
Bailey has shown a lot of growth over the last two seasons. His ERA has been well below 4.00 in both 2012 and 2013, and he posted a career-best 8.57 K/9 ratio last year.
What will likely worry Reds fans is, quite simply, the price tag being placed on a starter that is currently third on the depth chart. Though spring training is just now beginning for the team and Bailey could very well end up supplanting either Mat Latos or Johnny Cueto over the life of his six-year contract, it still looks like a steep price for a player not serving as the ace.
Cincinnati finished in third place in the National League Central last season at 90-72, seven games behind the St. Louis Cardinals. To rise to the top of the division, the Reds will be counting on Bailey to be even better than he was in 2013.
Now, it is up to him to prove he's worth that big contract.
Follow R. Cory Smith on Twitter: