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Thread: Baker focusing on pushing Homer Bailey to success

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    Baker focusing on pushing Homer Bailey to success

    Baker focusing on pushing Homer Bailey to success

    By Hal McCoy

    Staff Writer

    Sunday, February 15, 2009

    Dusty Baker was speaking figuratively when he said it, but it might have meant a lot to Homer Bailey if Baker actually did it.

    Asked about Homer Bailey, the Cincinnati Reds manager said, "Here's the ball, Homer, go get 'em."

    That's the way Baker plans his approach with Bailey this spring as one of the myriad of candidates for the No. 5 spot in the rotation.

    It is Bailey's fourth year in major-league camp and his second legitimate opportunity to win a rotation spot.

    He came to camp last year with lofty expectations, expectations that crumbled to a 0-6 record and 7.93 ERA in eight starts.

    And he lost the No. 5 spot to Josh Fogg last spring training.

    "Hope is what puts the big name in camp on Bailey every year because he happens to be a No. 1 draft choice (2004)," said Baker. "I'm not going to put any pressure on him other than what he puts on himself. I'm pulling for him, big-time. He is one of the guys in the mix."

    Baker said if Bailey doesn't make the rotation, he could be long guy in the bullpen, "Because we have some spots open."

    Bailey said it isn't something he has done, "But whatever Dusty wants. If he wants me to play first base, I'll do it although it will never come to that."

    With clamor from some fans and some media, Bailey was rushed to the majors in late 2007, when he was 20, and he has had on-the-job failure ever since.

    "He's had some opportunity, but he is still so young," Baker added. "He's not close to having his opportunities exhausted. He's 22. We've just heard about him forever. You'd think he was 30 years old. We'll keep trying to instruct him. The ball is in his hand."

    Figuratively meaning if he drops it, it is his own fault. And that meets with Bailey's approval.

    "I had a pretty good off-season and that always helps," he said. "I feel good physically. Just another year of opportunity.

    "I took November off, then in December I started working out Monday through Friday, then went hunting on the weekends," he said.

    Somebody asked if Bailey had put on weight, but he said to the contrary, he lost weight. "I ended the season at 215 and now I'm at 205. They said gaining weight wouldn't hurt me, but I feel better than I ever felt."

    Bailey welcomes Baker's attention.

    "I'm glad I have his confidence, but he has confidence in all his players. Anybody to whom he hands the ball he has 100 percent confidence.

    "It's good he is thinking of me and I went through the same thinking last year so maybe I feel a little more confident because I've gone through it.

    Last season, Bailey pitched some decent games and still lost, to go with some rather dreadful ones.

    "There were a few games I made one mistake or two that cost us a game and there were some where we even came to win games when I put us behind," he said. "That's more important to me the team winning than me getting a 'W' in the paper the next day."

    Of his competition, Bailey said, "There are a lot of good pitchers in camp. I was watching them the first day and there a lot of new faces. Looks as if we'll have a lot of quality arms in camp. That's good for the team."

    http://www.daytondailynews.com/s/con...spredsweb.html
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  3. #2
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    Re: Baker focusing on pushing Homer Bailey to success

    I really like what I'm hearing from Homer. He seems to have come in with a different attitude and is ready is to whatever it takes to make the team. It would be huge for this organization if Homer can put things together and develop into a solid starter. That would give the Reds three starters 25 years old or younger, plus Owings is only 26. With Cueto and Volquez in the fold, Homer doesn't need to be the ace anymore. With not as much pressure on him this year, maybe this is the year Homer puts it together...
    I miss Adam Dunn.

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    The Big Dog mth123's Avatar
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    Re: Baker focusing on pushing Homer Bailey to success

    I'm one of the few on this site that still thinks Homer has a bright future. He has one option left and the Reds should use it. Homer has never thrown 150 innings in a season and the team needs to continue building him up at his age. Give Homer a season of 175 Innings or so in AAA and another year for his body (and brain) to mature and develop. Its still not time for him to go to the bullpen unless he's going to stay there. A bullpen load in 2009 means no foundation for being a starter in 2010. I'd rather he get a full season of starting under his belt. Next spring, when he's out of options, will be the time to fall back on a bullpen role if he's still not taken the step forward as a starter.

    The Reds have a ton of bullpen options. Homer is really the only starting candidate within three years of the big leagues capable of filling a spot in the top 3 of the rotation. I'd wait another season before moving him to the pen. Homer is still the most logical replacement for Harang or Arroyo when their contracts are up.
    "All I can tell them is pick a good one and sock it." --BABE RUTH

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    Re: Baker focusing on pushing Homer Bailey to success

    Quote Originally Posted by mth123 View Post
    I'm one of the few on this site that still thinks Homer has a bright future. He has one option left and the Reds should use it. Homer has never thrown 150 innings in a season and the team needs to continue building him up at his age. Give Homer a season of 175 Innings or so in AAA and another year for his body (and brain) to mature and develop. Its still not time for him to go to the bullpen unless he's going to stay there. A bullpen load in 2009 means no foundation for being a starter in 2010. I'd rather he get a full season of starting under his belt. Next spring, when he's out of options, will be the time to fall back on a bullpen role if he's still not taken the step forward as a starter.

    The Reds have a ton of bullpen options. Homer is really the only starting candidate within three years of the big leagues capable of filling a spot in the top 3 of the rotation. I'd wait another season before moving him to the pen. Homer is still the most logical replacement for Harang or Arroyo when their contracts are up.
    Great post!
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    Re: Baker focusing on pushing Homer Bailey to success

    Honestly, I wish they'd start grooming Bailey to replace Cordero a year or two from now.

    I think if Homer was encouraged to embrace his fondness for his fastball, and then figure out 2 other plus pitches he could legitimately be a stud closer.

    From my limited observation(s) of him, it seems that he's an ADD or ADHD pitcher, and just loses focus on hitters after they've faced him once. Sure, he's had his early inning problems too, but it seems that once he's gone thru the opposition's lineup once that's when the wheels begin to fall off. IMO, if he's brought in to face no more than 10 guys at the end of the game, he could be a valuable weapon for the Reds.

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    High five! nate's Avatar
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    Re: Baker focusing on pushing Homer Bailey to success

    Quote Originally Posted by mth123 View Post
    I'm one of the few on this site that still thinks Homer has a bright future. He has one option left and the Reds should use it. Homer has never thrown 150 innings in a season and the team needs to continue building him up at his age. Give Homer a season of 175 Innings or so in AAA and another year for his body (and brain) to mature and develop. Its still not time for him to go to the bullpen unless he's going to stay there. A bullpen load in 2009 means no foundation for being a starter in 2010. I'd rather he get a full season of starting under his belt. Next spring, when he's out of options, will be the time to fall back on a bullpen role if he's still not taken the step forward as a starter.

    The Reds have a ton of bullpen options. Homer is really the only starting candidate within three years of the big leagues capable of filling a spot in the top 3 of the rotation. I'd wait another season before moving him to the pen. Homer is still the most logical replacement for Harang or Arroyo when their contracts are up.
    I like it.
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    Box of Frogs edabbs44's Avatar
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    Re: Baker focusing on pushing Homer Bailey to success

    Love the positiveness on Homer's situation. He is still incredibly young and has a bright future. I think the bullpen is a legit option, but I would see what this season holds and, if he bombs, maybe give it a shot. But I still want to see him as a starting candidate.

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    Re: Baker focusing on pushing Homer Bailey to success

    I guess I'll be the first to post that I am liking Baker's approach here. The ball really is in Homer's hand. That said, he shouldn't sniff the majors before September. He really does need to build innings, in a more controlled atmosphere.
    Suck it up cupcake.

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    Re: Baker focusing on pushing Homer Bailey to success

    I hope Bailey doesn't see an inning at the MLB level this season. Even if he totally dominates, getting better as the AAA season goes on.

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    Re: Baker focusing on pushing Homer Bailey to success

    Quote Originally Posted by Highlifeman21 View Post
    Honestly, I wish they'd start grooming Bailey to replace Cordero a year or two from now.

    I think if Homer was encouraged to embrace his fondness for his fastball, and then figure out 2 other plus pitches he could legitimately be a stud closer.
    If Bailey develops 3 plus pitches it would be a horrible waste of his talents to use him as a reliever.

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    Party like it's 1990 Blitz Dorsey's Avatar
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    Re: Baker focusing on pushing Homer Bailey to success

    I'm also in the camp that believes Bailey should be a starter at AAA this year, not a long reliever with the Reds (assuming he doesn't make the Reds' starting rotation as I believe).

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    We are the angry mob cincyinco's Avatar
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    Re: Baker focusing on pushing Homer Bailey to success

    Quote Originally Posted by Austin Kearns View Post
    If Bailey develops 3 plus pitches it would be a horrible waste of his talents to use him as a reliever.
    Agreed, three plus pitches would make him an ace.
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    Re: Baker focusing on pushing Homer Bailey to success

    Quote Originally Posted by Falls City Beer View Post
    I hope Bailey doesn't see an inning at the MLB level this season. Even if he totally dominates, getting better as the AAA season goes on.
    Why? If he does indeed go to AAA and dominates to the tune of say 2.85 ERA, 2.5 BB/9 and 10 K/9 why would you not want to see him in the majors this season?

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    Re: Baker focusing on pushing Homer Bailey to success

    Quote Originally Posted by Austin Kearns View Post
    If Bailey develops 3 plus pitches it would be a horrible waste of his talents to use him as a reliever.
    Maybe yes maybe no.

    I picked 3 b/c I'm not sure Bailey could make a living as a closer with just 2 plus pitches, since it seems most stud closers have 3 plus pitches.

    Even so, if Bailey can only develop 2 plus pitches, I still think he's a dish best served as a closer.

    I'm not saying he can't be a starter or shouldn't be a starter anymore, but to date he hasn't fared well as a starter so why not go a different direction?

    Kerry Wood was able to reinvent himself as a closer, same with John Smoltz. Why not Homer Bailey?

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    Re: Baker focusing on pushing Homer Bailey to success

    Kerry Wood was able to reinvent himself as a closer, same with John Smoltz. Why not Homer Bailey?
    Wood was thirty years old when he reinvented himself. There's no reason for Bailey to reinvent himself just because he struggled in the majors as a 22 year old.


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