Homer Bailey has been mentioned in trade rumors numerous times this offseason to teams like the Atlanta Braves, Boston Red Sox, Dodgers, Seattle Mariners, New York Mets and Baltimore Orioles, but now it appears that the star pitcher and the Cincinatti Reds are getting close to a major contract extension and that comes after reports emerged that the two sides were far apart.
Bailey came into the offseason after going 11-2 with two career no hitters under his belt and he had a solid 3.49 ERA in 2013, but the looming contract extension and the possibility that it would be too expensive were the main reasons that any trade talks came up. According to ESPN.com and Hardball Talk, that may all be over with now, as the pitcher and the Reds are now "close" to an extension and the deal is expected to be in the nine figured after Bailey made $5.35 million last season.
The Reds offseason plans with Bailey started to move towards arbitration and he has a hearing scheduled for this week and has asked the team for over $11 million, while they have offered just under $9 million. According to the ESPN.com report, Bailey is nearing a $100 million extension with the Reds and it comes after he threw a no hitter last season and without a new deal he is set to be an unrestricted free agent on the market. Bailey has been one of the top young pitchers in the game and he has a career 49-45 record with a 4.25 ERA and he has been part of the recent resurgence with the Reds, which includes Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips.
Last season Bailey had one of his best seasons with nearly 200 strikeouts and over 200 innings and the Reds are expecting that for many more years. Some teams that were mentioned earlier in the offseason as potential trade partners likely do not match up anymore and with the extension looming, clearly that is off the table. The Atlanta Braves were potentially a destination, but that is off the table now after the team has locked up all their own stars, including Freddie Freeman, Jason Heyward and Craig Kimbrel.
The Braves lost Tim Hudson in the offseason and signed names like Freddy Garcia and Gavin Floyd and that was one reason why Bailey's name came up in rumors. The 27-year-old pitcher has the potential to be the top name on the free agent market if he makes it there after the season and keeping him in the rotation gives the Reds one of the best in the NL with Johnny Cueto and Mat Latos even after Bronson Arroyo left. Bailey looks to be in line for a contract over $100 million but likely less than the $147 million that Zack Greinke got and the $155 million that Masahiro Tanaka got from the Yankees.
The Reds have some money issues to worry about heading into the future and they already are at $70 million heading into 2015 on the payroll and putting Bailey in that will inflate that more. The team has money they will also have to dole out for Lotos, Cueto and Mike Leake next season and that could come into consideration with how they structure Bailey's deal.