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View Full Version : Homer Baily--future ace? Jim Bowden thinks so



cinreds21
07-01-2011, 01:21 AM
Every major league club searches for top-of-the-rotation starting pitchers because that's how teams win pennants. Look at the six division leaders. In the National League, the Phillies have Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay and Cole Hamels; the Brewers have Yovani Gallardo, Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum; the Giants have Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner. In the American League, the Yankees have CC Sabathia and Bartolo Colon; the Tigers have Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer; and the Rangers have Alexi Ogando and C.J. Wilson. Every club is trying to find the next pitcher who can develop into the type of impact starter that puts it into a pennant race.

Besides the draft, international signings, free agency and trades, there are really only three other places you can find top-of-the-rotation starters:

1. The back end of your present rotation
2. Moving a pitcher from the bullpen to the rotation
3. Minor leagues

This piece will examine starting pitchers in the first category.

In recent years, we have seen several pitchers develop from the back to the front of their clubs' rotations, including Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Tommy Hanson of the Atlanta Braves, Johnny Cueto of the Cincinnati Reds and Jaime Garcia of the St. Louis Cardinals.


The only examples I agree with are Garcia and Cueto. Both Hanson and Kershaw were expected to do this.



4. Homer Bailey, RHP, Cincinnati
If Bailey, 25, can stay healthy, he should become a 15-18 game winner. He's had to overcome injuries, including shoulder problems this year. When healthy, his fastball is 90-96 mph with hard, arm-side sink. The pitch is so overpowering that at times he can throw it down the middle of the plate, tell the hitters it's coming and they still can't catch up. When he was drafted, he had a big curveball that was his primary breaking pitch, but now his tight slider or cutter is his most effective breaking ball. All his pitches move, and he's a fierce competitor who is really finding himself. His stubbornness is leaving, and his stuff is dynamic. If he keeps the shoulder healthy, he could develop like Cueto and end up at the top of the Reds' rotation. Maturity can get him there in a hurry.

mth123
07-01-2011, 04:50 AM
The only examples I agree with are Garcia and Cueto. Both Hanson and Kershaw were expected to do this.

I completely agree with the assessment of Bailey, but 3 shoulder injuries in a 12 month span scare the heck out of me. If it all really is unrelated and there are no residual effects, I think he'll be the Reds ace by as soon as October.

I just suspect these injuries are the puffs of smoke that indicate that there is a fire burining in that shoulder that the medical staff hasn't been able to find. The Reds should plan for the worst and hope for the best. They should plan their team as if Homer isn't an option and take it as a good fortune if he turns out to be available.

Chip R
07-01-2011, 09:14 AM
If JimBo thinks Homer's an ace, we better trade him ASAP. ;)

Edd Roush
07-01-2011, 09:22 AM
I completely agree with the assessment of Bailey, but 3 shoulder injuries in a 12 month span scare the heck out of me. If it all really is unrelated and there are no residual effects, I think he'll be the Reds ace by as soon as October.

I just suspect these injuries are the puffs of smoke that indicate that there is a fire burining in that shoulder that the medical staff hasn't been able to find. The Reds should plan for the worst and hope for the best. They should plan their team as if Homer isn't an option and take it as a good fortune if he turns out to be available.

I have injury concerns about Homer as well and I like him being a top of the rotation pitcher in Cincinnati going forward, but can you really consider him our "ace" after the way Cueto has been pitching this year. If Homer stays healthy, I really like Cueto-Bailey-Leake as our playoff rotation.

That being said, if a James Shields-Felix Hernandez ace is available, I would love to add one of them by dealing some of our farm for a true ace and then an ace-Cueto-Bailey rotation would make us really tough.

signalhome
07-01-2011, 01:19 PM
I have injury concerns about Homer as well and I like him being a top of the rotation pitcher in Cincinnati going forward, but can you really consider him our "ace" after the way Cueto has been pitching this year. If Homer stays healthy, I really like Cueto-Bailey-Leake as our playoff rotation.

That being said, if a James Shields-Felix Hernandez ace is available, I would love to add one of them by dealing some of our farm for a true ace and then an ace-Cueto-Bailey rotation would make us really tough.

I would practically sell the farm to land Felix.

The Voice of IH
07-01-2011, 01:25 PM
I think it is clear that this rotation is the rotation of the future. And honestly a Cueto, Chapman, Bailey, Leake, Wood has four Ace's on it and a great number three.

Edd Roush
07-01-2011, 02:01 PM
I would practically sell the farm to land Felix.

I think I would, too. I just didn't want to overly exxagerate. Do you think Mesoraco, Alonso, Frazier, Wood and Hamilton gets it done?

RedLegsToday
07-01-2011, 02:12 PM
Do you think Mesoraco, Alonso, Frazier, Wood and Hamilton gets it done?


That's a mid-rotation starter, 3 majors-ready excellent-to-very good prospects, and a low minors speedburner (which every franchise seems to love). If that can't get it done, then, there is no getting it done.

Personally, any deal involving Mes is a mistake. He looks like the real deal to me. Swap Grandal for Mes and I'm in! :thumbup:

Edd Roush
07-01-2011, 02:19 PM
That's a mid-rotation starter, 3 majors-ready excellent-to-very good prospects, and a low minors speedburner (which every franchise seems to love). If that can't get it done, then, there is no getting it done.

Personally, any deal involving Mes is a mistake. He looks like the real deal to me. Swap Grandal for Mes and I'm in! :thumbup:

I don't want to trade Mes either, but I am not going to let the perceived difference between him and Grandal be a deal-breaker. I obviously prefer Mes over Grandal, but I think Grandal will be an above-average ML player.

I don't want to trade Todd Frazier, either, but I really don't see him getting a chance to be the 3B of the future. The organization is enamored with Francisco over Frazier and I think I prefer Frazier.

I think I would offer Francisco, Alonso, Grandal, Wood and Hamilton, but would up the offering to Frazier and Mes if they insisted. I would also swap out Hamilton for Yorman if they asked. I am starting to get scared about reports of Yorman's work ethic.

signalhome
07-01-2011, 02:37 PM
I think I would, too. I just didn't want to overly exxagerate. Do you think Mesoraco, Alonso, Frazier, Wood and Hamilton gets it done?

Honestly, I've no idea what kind of prospects the Mariners already have at those positions, so it's hard to say. I know they've got Smoak at 1B, so Alonso probably isn't as appealing as we'd like him to be, but maybe they'd try him at LF. However, if the Mariners were to even offer him, and without really knowing their strengths and needs, I think (more like hope) something like Hamilton, Grandal, Frazier, Wood, and Boxberger/Lotzkar (one of those two) would be a good place to start. That move kind of guts the farm a little bit, but landing a pitcher of Hernandez's caliber would make the Reds legitimate World Series contenders for the next few years.

This is all just talk, though. I can't imagine the Mariners would be willing to deal him and the Reds may not even be willing to take on his salary -- he's due for $18.5 million in 2012, $19.5 million in 2013, and $20 million in 2014. That's a hefty sum for a team like the Reds.

Edd Roush
07-01-2011, 02:54 PM
Honestly, I've no idea what kind of prospects the Mariners already have at those positions, so it's hard to say. I know they've got Smoak at 1B, so Alonso probably isn't as appealing as we'd like him to be, but maybe they'd try him at LF. However, if the Mariners were to even offer him, and without really knowing their strengths and needs, I think (more like hope) something like Hamilton, Grandal, Frazier, Wood, and Boxberger/Lotzkar (one of those two) would be a good place to start. That move kind of guts the farm a little bit, but landing a pitcher of Hernandez's caliber would make the Reds legitimate World Series contenders for the next few years.

This is all just talk, though. I can't imagine the Mariners would be willing to deal him and the Reds may not even be willing to take on his salary -- he's due for $18.5 million in 2012, $19.5 million in 2013, and $20 million in 2014. That's a hefty sum for a team like the Reds.

Agreed, this would definitely be a franchise altering move. It would take support from Castellini, Jocketty, Buckley and Dusty. Castellini would have to increase payroll substantially and Jocketty and Buckley would have to agree on prospects.

I included Alonso just because he is such a trade chip and the Dave Cameron-Pineda article mentioned how the M's could use Alonso in left. If that failed, they could always DH Alonso. I honestly think your deal is less valuable than mine, so I would love to see a deal where the Reds got King Felix without trading Mesoraco or any major league pieces.

I agree the team would be right up there with the Phils as World Series contenders and the good thing is that it solidifes this window. All of the guys thrown in the deal would likely help a lot after 2014, but Phillips, Rolen and Votto are all going to be gone then. This helps this team's core be the most competitive that it can be and I would imagine would push up attendance to automatic sell-outs on the weekends and close to 30k on week nights.

I think the buzz created from this deal would come close to the Griffey deal. Nothing beats the favorite son coming home, but after winning his Cy Young award, the Average Joe fan is going to understand this as a major aggressive step by the Reds and will help to push the Lost Decade into the past.

RedsManRick
07-01-2011, 03:13 PM
Put me in the group that thinks Bailey has the highest ceiling of any starter on the 25 man roster, the only one with "Ace" potential. I'm not going hold my breath on Chapman being converted back to a starter (or staying healthy) and I don't believe Volquez is capable of sustaining a low enough BB rate to be a top-flight starter. Unfortunately, I'm highly doubtful that he'll ever reach it, mostly due to health.

If you gave me an over/under on 200+ IP seasons from Bailey at 0.5, I'd take the under.

signalhome
07-01-2011, 03:15 PM
Agreed, this would definitely be a franchise altering move. It would take support from Castellini, Jocketty, Buckley and Dusty. Castellini would have to increase payroll substantially and Jocketty and Buckley would have to agree on prospects.

I included Alonso just because he is such a trade chip and the Dave Cameron-Pineda article mentioned how the M's could use Alonso in left. If that failed, they could always DH Alonso. I honestly think your deal is less valuable than mine, so I would love to see a deal where the Reds got King Felix without trading Mesoraco or any major league pieces.

I agree the team would be right up there with the Phils as World Series contenders and the good thing is that it solidifes this window. All of the guys thrown in the deal would likely help a lot after 2014, but Phillips, Rolen and Votto are all going to be gone then. This helps this team's core be the most competitive that it can be and I would imagine would push up attendance to automatic sell-outs on the weekends and close to 30k on week nights.

I think the buzz created from this deal would come close to the Griffey deal. Nothing beats the favorite son coming home, but after winning his Cy Young award, the Average Joe fan is going to understand this as a major aggressive step by the Reds and will help to push the Lost Decade into the past.

Yeah, my deal's a lot less valuable because I'm being very stubborn on keeping Mesoraco; I really wouldn't want to give him up, and would only do so if absolutely nothing else could get it done. It's also likely that the Reds would have to give up a guy like Heisey as well. If the M's are willing to play Alonso in LF or DH, though, then maybe try Hamilton, Alonso, Grandal, Wood, and Box/Lotzkar -- Alonso's a lot more valuable than Frazier. The Reds would probably have to give up another promising young guy, someone like Yorman Rodriguez. Needless to say, it's going to take a lot to get Felix, especially considering he wouldn't just be a one-year rental like most trade targets.

Reds1
07-01-2011, 03:21 PM
The Reds seem to be turning the corner and I was just thinking that if Homer can get to where he was picthing he is right there with Cueto and an awesome 1-2 punch to go against the other great arms listed in the article on this post. The amazing thing is that Arroyo is probably not even the 3rd starter on this team - had a bad year. I think this might be his last year as a Red. LIke the possible 1-2 punch to go with the highest scoring team and one of the best defenses in the league. It's been a tough year, but only 2.5 out and the tough part of schedule almost over - I think it's time they make a run.

bucksfan2
07-01-2011, 03:23 PM
Re major trades:

Felix may be one of the best pitches in the game but the packages that are being put together are a little too high if you ask me. Look at two of the best pitches recently to be traded with at least a season left on their contract. Both Cliff Lee and Johan Santana were traded for less than stellar prospects. At the time you could have made the argument that both were the best at their respective positions. Now Felix does have age on his side but I don't think it will take the farm in order to get either one.

I heard an interview with Jonah Keri (author of The Extra 2%) on the Brian Kenny Show last night. He made a point that the days of Bartolo Colon for Cliff Lee, Brandon Phillips, and Grady Sizemore are gone. He doesn't think you will ever see as many top rated prospects traded in one package again.

FWIW Jonah Keri has written for ESPN, fangraphs, baseball perspective, cnnsi, WSJ, The New York Times, etc.

signalhome
07-01-2011, 03:23 PM
Put me in the group that thinks Bailey has the highest ceiling of any starter on the 25 man roster, the only one with "Ace" potential. I'm not going hold my breath on Chapman being converted back to a starter (or staying healthy) and I don't believe Volquez is capable of sustaining a low enough BB rate to be a top-flight starter. Unfortunately, I'm highly doubtful that he'll ever reach it, mostly due to health.

If you gave me an over/under on 200+ IP seasons from Bailey at 0.5, I'd take the under.

To me there's no question that Bailey has the highest ceiling, but the injuries are starting to worry me. If Cueto wants to reach ace status, he is going to have to really increase that K/9 or cut the BB/9 even further, because it's going to be very difficult sustain a sub-3.00 ERA with his current peripherals. However, one very impressive thing about Cueto so far is his IFFB%. At 12.3%, that's close to Mariano Rivera territory. Cutters tend to lead to IFFB, and it seems like Cueto has really dominated hitters with his cut fastball this year. If he can keep his IFFB% that high, and his LD% that low (15.3% so far), it's entirely possible that he's able to outperform his FIP year after year, as Rivera has done. It should be noted, though, that Rivera has only outperformed his FIP by 0.55 in his career, while Cueto's ERA currently sits a full 1.56 under his FIP.

Edd Roush
07-01-2011, 03:23 PM
Alonso's a lot more valuable than Frazier.

I agree that in absolute terms, this is correct. However, I think in the Reds' context, Frazier may be as valuable or more valuable to the Reds than Alonso.

Consider that Alonso cannot return to the minor leagues next year. He will be a PH extraoridnare for the next two years, unless God forbid Votto gets hurt. While Alonso played 3B in his younger days at the U, one would have to expect that if there was any chance he could play it in the bigs, he would be getting an audition down in Louisville.

By all accounts, Frazier can play an adequate 3B in the bigs. We all know that 2010 was a disappointment for Frazier when he posted a .258/.333/.448 line. However, in 2011, we have seen a significant bounceback from Frazier. He is now hitting .274/.360/.508 in 289 PAs in 2011. I really believe Todd can be an average major league third baseman both defensively and offensively.

Yonder Alonso is position limited to only 1B. I honestly think I place more value on Frazier than I do Alonso.

Will M
07-01-2011, 03:25 PM
I think it is clear that this rotation is the rotation of the future. And honestly a Cueto, Chapman, Bailey, Leake, Wood has four Ace's on it and a great number three.

thats the upside of the current guys.
downside...
Bailey - career ending shoulder injury
Chapman - never develops the control he needs to harnass his potential

I personally doubt any of the other three will ever be an 'Ace' in the way I think of an 'Ace'. guys who are Aces to me are those that finish 1-2-3 in the Cy Young Award voting. Or to broaden the category a bit guys who are in the top 10-15 pitchers in the league.

signalhome
07-01-2011, 03:29 PM
Re major trades:

Felix may be one of the best pitches in the game but the packages that are being put together are a little too high if you ask me. Look at two of the best pitches recently to be traded with at least a season left on their contract. Both Cliff Lee and Johan Santana were traded for less than stellar prospects. At the time you could have made the argument that both were the best at their respective positions. Now Felix does have age on his side but I don't think it will take the farm in order to get either one.

I heard an interview with Jonah Keri (author of The Extra 2%) on the Brian Kenny Show last night. He made a point that the days of Bartolo Colon for Cliff Lee, Brandon Phillips, and Grady Sizemore are gone. He doesn't think you will ever see as many top rated prospects traded in one package again.

FWIW Jonah Keri has written for ESPN, fangraphs, baseball perspective, cnnsi, WSJ, The New York Times, etc.

Felix is under team contact through 2014, which is why I believe it would take quite a bit more to land him. If Hernandez was only going to be a 1.5 year rental, sure, it would take a lot less.

That being said, Jonah Keri is a far more intelligent man than I, so maybe I should just sit back and shut up. I guess I just feel that a proven commodity like Hernandez is a lot more valuable than a few prospects that may or may not turn out to be great players.

Edd Roush
07-01-2011, 03:33 PM
I think this might be his last year as a Red.

The problem with this statement is the Reds handed Arroyo a hefty contract extension in the off-season. He will make 12 million in 2012 and 11.5 million in 2013. I don't think Arroyo will produce enough to entice a team to trade for Arroyo. We might have to give up value just to unload his contract.

signalhome
07-01-2011, 03:35 PM
I agree that in absolute terms, this is correct. However, I think in the Reds' context, Frazier may be as valuable or more valuable to the Reds than Alonso.

Consider that Alonso cannot return to the minor leagues next year. He will be a PH extraoridnare for the next two years, unless God forbid Votto gets hurt. While Alonso played 3B in his younger days at the U, one would have to expect that if there was any chance he could play it in the bigs, he would be getting an audition down in Louisville.

By all accounts, Frazier can play an adequate 3B in the bigs. We all know that 2010 was a disappointment for Frazier when he posted a .258/.333/.448 line. However, in 2011, we have seen a significant bounceback from Frazier. He is now hitting .274/.360/.508 in 289 PAs in 2011. I really believe Todd can be an average major league third baseman both defensively and offensively.

Yonder Alonso is position limited to only 1B. I honestly think I place more value on Frazier than I do Alonso.

Yeah, I just meant their value as a prospect/trade chip. At this point Frazier could very well be the more valuable player for the Reds (if Alonso is as bad in LF as the reports say, that is), but teams are a lot more interested in Alonso than Frazier. That's all I was saying. Frazier is very valuable to the Reds, and I'd rather he be the emergency 3B call-up than Francisco.

Edd Roush
07-01-2011, 03:46 PM
but teams are a lot more interested in Alonso than Frazier.

I hope this statement is true. The Reds really need to cash in on him as a trade chip at this deadline. His value is back to where it was before the hamate bone injury and we need to actively seek a SS, top-of-the-rotation starter or a stud left-fielder to improve this team. I think the most logical trade at this point may be a Alonso for Hardy trade, seeing how the Orioles need a young 1B to take over for D Lee and Hardy would be a major upgrade at SS.

I love playing hypotheticals with the Reds and I would love to see a King Felix trade happen. I just don't know how much interest the Ms have in moving him. I guess it's Walt's job to convince the Ms that their window to compete is not right now and he can trade them parts to help them be a threat in the AL West as early as two years from now.

Either way, let's hope rival GMs value Alonso and Walt can find the right trading partner to make a deal.

Reds1
07-01-2011, 11:31 PM
The problem with this statement is the Reds handed Arroyo a hefty contract extension in the off-season. He will make 12 million in 2012 and 11.5 million in 2013. I don't think Arroyo will produce enough to entice a team to trade for Arroyo. We might have to give up value just to unload his contract.

I forgot it was that high. Well, I'm down on Arroyo now, but he does tend to come back and surprise me. Let's just hope his better efforts are ahead of him this year. Games like tonight he is killing this team. I'd rather see Wood then the efforts he gave. He is a gamer and I like the way he can pitch, but it's rough watching all those balls leave the yard.

dougdirt
07-02-2011, 12:10 PM
I agree that in absolute terms, this is correct. However, I think in the Reds' context, Frazier may be as valuable or more valuable to the Reds than Alonso.

Consider that Alonso cannot return to the minor leagues next year.

Alonso absolutely can return to the minors next year. He doesn't have to stick with the Reds until the 2013 season.

traderumor
07-02-2011, 12:57 PM
I wonder if Alonso is any worse in LF than Gomes or Lewis? He'd almost have to be Carlos Lee bad.

Scrap Irony
07-02-2011, 05:50 PM
He's worse than Carlos Lee.

Unless you've seen him, you have no idea.

His routes are poor, he is extremely slow, and he's machanical to boot. And, while his arm is accurate, it's not particularly strong.

That's the Golden Sombrero of poor defense.

traderumor
07-02-2011, 05:55 PM
He's worse than Carlos Lee.

Unless you've seen him, you have no idea.

His routes are poor, he is extremely slow, and he's machanical to boot. And, while his arm is accurate, it's not particularly strong.

That's the Golden Sombrero of poor defense.

So, either the Reds are waiting for someone to come looking for a 1b/dh or gonna hold him as Votto insurance.

Slyder
07-03-2011, 10:34 AM
Re major trades:

Felix may be one of the best pitches in the game but the packages that are being put together are a little too high if you ask me. Look at two of the best pitches recently to be traded with at least a season left on their contract. Both Cliff Lee and Johan Santana were traded for less than stellar prospects. At the time you could have made the argument that both were the best at their respective positions. Now Felix does have age on his side but I don't think it will take the farm in order to get either one.

I heard an interview with Jonah Keri (author of The Extra 2%) on the Brian Kenny Show last night. He made a point that the days of Bartolo Colon for Cliff Lee, Brandon Phillips, and Grady Sizemore are gone. He doesn't think you will ever see as many top rated prospects traded in one package again.

FWIW Jonah Keri has written for ESPN, fangraphs, baseball perspective, cnnsi, WSJ, The New York Times, etc.

Those two weren't 25 years old when they were traded either. What purpose does trading Felix do for the M's if its not for a king's ransom?

dougdirt
07-03-2011, 11:03 AM
Those two weren't 25 years old when they were traded either. What purpose does trading Felix do for the M's if its not for a king's ransom?

Not only that, but neither guy was signed for years when the deal went down either. Of course with those years is a lot of money too, but still, if you trade for him, he is yours for several seasons.

buckeyenut
07-03-2011, 11:24 AM
If I am giving the Mariners the package you guys mentioned, I make them take Arroyo with it. That offsets some of the money and given their cash position, shouldn't be a big deal. I also see Arroyo rebounding big in Seattle and being a nice trade chip for them next deadline.

I'd try something like Felix for Arroyo, Hamilton, Alonso, Grandal, Frazier and Yorman and would be open to other prospects. Only three I stay away from are Cozart, Mes and Chapman.

camisadelgolf
07-03-2011, 11:26 AM
If I am giving the Mariners the package you guys mentioned, I make them take Arroyo with it. That offsets some of the money and given their cash position, shouldn't be a big deal. I also see Arroyo rebounding big in Seattle and being a nice trade chip for them next deadline.

I'd try something like Felix for Arroyo, Hamilton, Alonso, Grandal, Frazier and Yorman and would be open to other prospects. Only three I stay away from are Cozart, Mes and Chapman.
If Arroyo is traded, his deferred salary (which totals $15M) would become a bonus that is paid up front. It would do the opposite of offset cash in a trade.