The Cincinnati Reds undoubtedly had great expectations when they signed pitcher Homer Bailey to a six-year, $105 million extension before the start of the 2014 season. However, the Reds should now bail out of the deal by trading Bailey to the Texas Rangers for Alex Rios.
The Reds desperately need the bat Rios provides in order to infuse some sign of life into a disaster of a batting order. Rios would be an ideal second hitter behind rookie Billy Hamilton.
The 33-year-old Rios is hitting .299 this year, and even though he’s hit just four homers in 2014, he still carries a .754 OPS that is in line with his career OPS of .766.
Rios would have to convert to left field, where he has started just one time in his 1,472 outfield starts overall. With an escalator that would pay him $14 million in 2015 if traded this year, Rios would give the Reds what they need not only the rest of this year, but all of next year to contend in the NL Central.
As for Bailey, his 4.22 ERA heading into his 21st start of the season Monday night was not what the Reds had in mind when deciding to overpay Bailey. Among 92 starting pitchers in the majors this year with at least 17 starts, Bailey’s ERA ranks 74th. The Reds can get that kind of production out of a fifth starter for a whole lot less than what Bailey will make.
Bailey has shown he’s a potential ace throughout his eight-year career, which includes two no-hitters. But while the no-hitters might make for good ballpark marketing with the likes of dual bobblehead giveaways, the reality is that Bailey is a chronic underachiever who doesn’t seem capable of taking the last step in his development to become a staff ace.
The progress that Bailey made during 2012 and 2013 has vanished in 2014 so far, but maybe the vestige of that success is enough to entice the Rangers to take on a contract that the Reds are undoubtedly already regretting.