On Saturday, the Cincinnati Reds and pitcher Homer Bailey were able to agree to a one year deal to avoid arbitration. Bailey wanted $5.8 million and the team offered $4.75 million, but were able to meet basically in the middle at $5.35 million.
Now comes the hard part: the long-term deal.
Bailey had his best year in the majors, and is turning 27 in May. Bailey may just be entering his prime. He set career highs in wins, ERA, starts, innings, strikeouts and WHIP. He also had a no-hitter last year. The former first round pick may be finally reaching his potential as a major league pitcher.
The way the open market is for pitching, it may be smart for the Reds to do the deal now than later, as Bailey’s got one more year of arbitration eligibility before becoming a free agent. The Reds don’t have a lot in their farm system, and if Arolids Chapman can become an effective starting pitcher, he can take Bronson Arroyo‘s spot in the rotation for next season, and the team can use some of that extra $11 million on a deal for Bailey.
Pitching is a tough commodity to get and when you have it, you don’t want to let it go. If Bailey can build on what he did in 2012, then 2013 could be a big year for him. The Reds have the makings of a very strong and young rotation, with Bailey as a big part of it. They should try and lock him in before he gets too expensive.