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February 20, 2014

Bailey signs long-term deal with Reds

Looking like an adult at age 25It went down to the wire, but the Cincinnati Reds avoided arbitration with their final player, homegrown starting pitcher Homer Bailey.

Bailey has agreed to a six-year, $105 million deal. Since this season was Bailey’s final one before becoming a free agent, this is effectively a five year extension. He will be 34 once the contract is up, and assuming he spends the entire time with the Reds, will have spent 13 years with one club. That sounds fitting for the first starting pitcher the team drafted and developed since Tom Browning.

As for the deal’s details, ABC News has that.

Bailey gets salaries of $9 million this year, $10 million in 2015, $18 million in 2016, $19 million in 2017, $21 million in 2018 and $23 million in 2019. In an unusual twist, much of the annual salary will be deferred until the November after each season.

Bailey will be paid in-season amounts of $3 million this year, $4 million next year, $11 million in 2016, $12 million in 2017, $14 million in 2018 and $15 million in 2019.

If he is traded, his new team would have to pay all of the salary amounts during the season. Also, the $5 million buyout would be paid when either side decides not to exercise the option rather than having it deferred until November 2020.

The November deferment is something I’ve never heard of a team doing before. Whatever makes it easiest for the team.

Overall, this seems like a good, fair-market deal. Bailey has improved every year in the majors, and he’s entering the prime years of his athletic career. With two no-hitters already behind him, I’m optimistic he can accomplish more. Plus, it’s nice to see the Reds actually do something, even if it is sign a player they already had.

January 22, 2014

Reds arbitration update

Homer Bailey smiles as he leans in for a forbidden photo with a fan.

Homer Bailey smiles as he leans in for a forbidden photo with a fan.

Going into this off-season, the Cincinnati Reds had 6 players eligible for the arbitration process: Homer Bailey, Aroldis Chapman, Chris Heisey, Mike Leake, Sam LeCure, and Alfredo Simon. Currently, the club has reached agreements with everyone except Bailey and Chapman.

LeCure and Chapman are both in their first year of the process. LeCure, though, signed a two-year deal with the club that will not have him dealing with arbitration again until his final team-controlled year. His deal is worth $3.05 million.

Chapman and the club have exchanged salary figures, with the Reds offering $4.6 million and Chapman requesting $5.4 million. With as close as those numbers are, it’s likely the two sides will reach at least a one-year deal before the arbitration hearing arrives.

Heisey, Leake, and Simon were all in their second year of arbitration eligibility, and all have signed one-year deals. Heisey will be earning $1.76 million, Leake will be earning $5.925 million, and Simon will be earning $1.5 million.

Chapman pitching against the OriolesThat leaves Bailey, in his final year with the Reds before he’s eligible for free agency, is asking for a lot more than the Reds are offering: $11.6 million to $8.7 million. At the very least, I’m confident the Reds will sign Bailey to a one-year deal. General manager Walt Jocketty is working on getting a longer-term contract, but Bailey seems quite interested in testing the free agent market. He is a guy who’s thrown two no-hitters already and has improved each of his years in the big leagues. I can’t blame him for getting as much money as he can get.

There have been rumblings of trading Bailey this year if the team can’t sign him to a long-term deal, but I think that’s unlikely, at least at the beginning of the season. Of course, once it becomes obvious to Jocketty that he’s assembled another third-place team, maybe he’ll see what kind of prospects he can get for Bailey.

December 5, 2013

Ryan Hanigan traded

Ryan Hanigan before he drove in an insurance run.

Ryan Hanigan before he drove in an insurance run.

More than a month after signing Brayan Pena to be the backup catcher for the Cincinnati Reds in 2014, the Reds finally addressed their catching surplus and traded Ryan Hanigan to the Tampa Rays.

The deal was a three-team deal that also involved the Arizona Diamondbacks. In return, the Reds received 22 year-old lefthander David Holmberg. The pitcher has some potential as a back-of-the-rotation starter, which is an area the Reds were very weak in last season.

This also signals to Devin Mesoraco that it’s time for him to step up.

“(Manager Bryan Price) and I talked about it a lot,” Reds general manager Walt Jocketty said. “We felt he was ready to take the next step. We still have a high regard for his talent. He’s matured as a catcher and offensively the last two years. We think he’s ready to be a frontline guy.”

I hope so, too. Mesoraco’s shown slow, but steady improvement, which is kind of expected from the catching position. It’ll be interesting to see if he’s up to the challenge.

As for the trade, it seems a good one. The Reds traded from a surplus and addressed a weakness. Holmberg isn’t an ace-level prospect, but the Reds don’t need that. Hanigan had one more year before reaching free agency. Basically, the Reds turned that year into several more years of a 4th or 5th starter. Very nicely done.

December 3, 2013

Ending a hiatus

After a brief hiatus from all things related to the Cincinnati Reds–and can you blame a guy after the brutal ending to 2012 and the wasted 2013–I delved back into Reds news this week.

As is so often the case with the Reds under General Manager Walt Jocketty, nothing happens until it’s happened. No one saw the Mat Latos and Shin-S00 Choo trades coming. And just like both of those trades, there’s nothing of substance in any pending trade rumors.

However, a few minor things have happened while I was ignoring baseball. The Reds signed catcher Brayan Pena. What this means for Ryan Hanigan or Devin Mesoraco isn’t known, but it seems likely that Hanigan will be shopped around.

Also, Jocketty dipped into the ex-Cardinal bucket and signed Skip Schumaker to a $5 million, 2-year deal. Schumaker has versatility in the number of positions he can play badly, but assuming he’s used as a backup and not a starter, he could prove useful. I don’t see the need for 2 years of him, though.

And most recently, last night the Reds chose not to offer contracts to outfielders Xavier Paul and Derrick Robinson. Last night was the deadline when teams had to offer contracts to players on the 40-man roster without them. This doesn’t mean Paul and Robinson won’t be Reds in 2014, but it does mean they’re free agents and can sign anywhere. In particular, it might be worth bringing Robinson back. He was valuable in his playing time in 2013, and at 25, could have room to improve.

June 25, 2013

Heisey activated and Phillips put on paternity list

Heisey in center fieldAfter almost two months recovering from a hamstring issue, Chris Heisey has been activated and is back in the lineup as the designated hitter against the Oakland A’s tonight.

Heisey had been playing games with the AAA Louisville Bats for the last week, going 4 for 20.

“I felt really good at the plate,” he said. “I didn’t have the results to show for it, but I hit some balls hard. I saw a lot of pitches. I worked a lot of deep counts, which is something I want to get better at up here. It was a good little practice for me.”

Donald Lutz was sent down to AA to make room for Heisey’s return.

Heisey will be back, but the Reds will be without star second baseman Brandon Phillips, who was placed on the paternity list. I didn’t know that was a thing, but it’s apparently been there since 2011, added at the same time as the concussion list.

Players can miss one to three games, and Phillips is expected to miss the two-game series against the A’s. Infielder Henry Rodriguez was called up from Louisville to take his place.