After a slow start to his first year under a new six-year, $105 million contract, Homer Bailey started to look like the pitcher the Cincinnati Reds thought they were getting at such a steep price. Now Bailey’s first year under the new deal has turned for the worse, as the 28-year-old right-hander is headed for the 15-day disabled list with a flexor mass injury in his forearm.
The Reds have come to dread the phrase “flexor mass strain” recently after the same injury sidelined starting pitcher Mat Latos at the outset of this season and Jonathan Broxton, who needed surgery last year to repair his injury. The degree of Bailey’s injury remains to be seen, but given the financial commitment the Reds have made to Bailey, it’s hard to believe he’ll return this year if the Reds continue to slide farther away from the second Wild Card spot.
Bailey had been throwing much better recently than he had for most of the year. In his last seven starts, he had not surrendered more than three earned runs and posted two starts over 16 innings in which he did not give up any runs.
Bailey needed to string together some solid starts to offset a poor start to the season. He held a 6.15 ERA in April after five starts and followed that with a 4.26 ERA in six starts in May. He now stands with a 3.71 ERA over 145 innings and has lowered his WHIP on the year to 1.23.
The Reds will need to replace Bailey in the rotation. Minus a healthy Tony Cingrani, they are most likely looking at David Holmberg or one of the waiver wire pickups they have made recently in Dylan Axelrod or Scott Diamond. They could surprise, however, with a Double-A promotion of either Daniel Corcino, Michael Lorenzen or Robert Stephenson.