This past offseason, the Cincinnati Reds signed starter Homer Bailey to a six-year, $106 million contract extension. With Bailey locked up long-term, the Reds now turn their attention to other members of their starting rotation in an attempt to keep the successful core together for the foreseeable future.
So far, I have taken a look at Johnny Cueto‘s impending contract situation. Where does Mike Leake land in terms of what to expect from his first post-draft contract? Take a look at how Leake’s last five years compare to those of Bailey:
ERA: 4.46 (Bailey), 4.23 (Leake)
IP: 109 (Bailey), 138.1 (Leake)
W-L: 4-3 (Bailey), 8-4 (Leake)
ERA: 4.43 (Bailey), 3.86 (Leake)
IP: 132 (Bailey), 167.2 (Leake)
W-L: 9-7 (Bailey), 12-9 (Leake)
ERA: 3.68 (Bailey), 4.58 (Leake)
IP: 208 (Bailey), 179 (Leake)
W-L: 13-10 (Bailey), 8-9 (Leake)
ERA: 3.49 (Bailey), 3.37 (Leake)
IP: 209 (Bailey), 192.1 (Leake)
W-L: 11-12 (Bailey),14-7 (Leake)
2014 (so far):
ERA: 6.15 (Bailey), 3.82 (Leake)
IP: 26.1 (Bailey), 35.1 (Leake)
W-L: 1-2 (Bailey), 2-2 (Leake)
Leake: 44-31, 3.98 ERA, 712.2 IP, five seasons
Bailey: 50-47, 4.31 ERA, 879.1 IP, eight seasons
Looking at these statistics, the only difference statistically between the two pitchers is the fact that Bailey has two no-hitters to his name and has pitched three years longer. Statistically, wouldn’t it seem likely that these two pitchers receive the same type of contract.
Some will point out the fact that these two pitchers are completely different in the ways they pitch — Bailey through power and Leake through finesse and placement. A comparable pitcher to Leake would be former teammate Bronson Arroyo, who signed a two-year, $23.5 million deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks this offseason.
At 37 years old, Arroyo is making just under $12 million per year. At that rate over six years, Leake would be signing a $72 million extension. However, being 11 years younger than Arroyo, Leake’s value automatically increases.
Is Leake worth $5.6 million a year more than Arroyo? According to contracts being given out to pitchers the last few years, the answer is yes. So if Leake is worth $17.6 million a year and signs a six-year contract extension, the right-hander will be making $105.6 million over the course of the contract.
So technically, isn’t Leake worth the same amount as Bailey?
Now the question becomes, can the Reds afford to put up such money to keep their starter? Considering Cueto and Mat Latos will also be in line for extensions much larger than Leake or Bailey’s, do the Reds have the funds in which to afford to keep their pitching surplus? Only time will tell.