I would say more often than not, I completely disagree with Paul Daugherty of the Cincinnati Enquirer, but in today’s column, he is the voice of reason against bringing up Homer Bailey.

He makes the point that the #5 starter in any team’s rotation is not the pivotal spot in a playoff bid…but then he makes the point that is the strongest argument against bringing Bailey to the majors.

There’s another good reason not to bring up Bailey:

It doesn’t work.

Name one pitcher not named Doc Gooden in the last 30 years who made his major-league debut at age 19 or 20 and had a career worth savoring. I can name a few who tried and failed:

David Clyde debuted in 1973 at age 18 with the Texas Rangers. He was 4-8 that year, 18-33 for his career. Clyde was set aside by the age of 24.

Todd Van Poppel was 19 in ’91, when he pitched for Oakland. Van Poppel toppled – he won 40 games in 11 years.

Steve Avery was 3-11 pitching for Atlanta at age 20. Oakland’s Big Three of a few years back – Barry

Zito, Mark Mulder and Tim Hudson – made their first big-league starts at ages 22, 22 and 23 respectively.

In fact, 21 seems the earliest age any successful starting pitcher has made his debut. Josh Beckett started four games for the Florida Marlins at 21. Dontrelle Willis burst on the scene at the same age. A.J. Burnett was 22. And so on. Even Gooden had just one winning season after the age of 26.


Why does no other media person in this town (who all seem to be screaming for bringing Bailey to the majors) see this point?

Another point I would have made is everyone seems to be for bringing Bailey up at some point, for some reason (starter for Mays, bullpen duty, etc) and unless you’re going to get full value for your #1 phenom by having him starting games every 5 days, what is the point on putting him on the 40 man roster before you have to? Why start the clock on his options before you are going to get from him what you drafted him for?

Bailey’s best value to this team is in the future…it ain’t in 2006. If this team doesn’t make the playoffs this year, it won’t be because Krivsky wouldn’t bring up Bailey to fill a hole, it’ll be because he signed Joe Mays and Narron gave him 3-4-5 starts or for some other equally obvious reason.

6 Responses

  1. Philip

    Leave Homer where he is….if we bring him up it may be just like Wagner and it is not worth it. I know that it “could” turn out great, but the odds say don’t do it….just like they say

  2. al

    To me all the comparisons by age are irrelevant. there are lots who have failed, some who have succeeded, lot’s who have been in between: like all pitchers.

    what the decision should be based on isn’t a bunch of people speculating on historical trends, it should be based on our scouting, that’s what we pay these people for, right?

    In spring training it was widly reported that he had the best stuff in the organization, best fastball, best curveball, developing changeup. He needed to work on control, fielding his position, and holding runners, and to build strength to handle a 180+ inning season.

    so, has he done that? i can’t tell you. ryan wagner didn’t start sucking because he lacked confidence alone, he also lacked a second pitch. he was a bad draft pick, it happens, a lot to jim bowden. I’m not worried about homer suffering his fate because he obviously has the tools, i just want to know if he’s ready.

    miguel cabrerra took the marlins to the world championship when he was 19 or 20, and homer, if ready, could do the same for us. If he’s ready, why wouldn’t we want to accquire an ace for the stretch? If he’s not ready, he’s not going to help us, and the discussion should end there, whatever his numbers are at AA.

    in this one i feel like we have to trust the organization.

  3. al

    cabrerra isn’t “my example,” it was an example. what about k-rod for the angels. pappelbon last year with the sox? that’s just the last few years.

    mays had a good start, and a few good relief appearances. exactly how fast did you want them to cut bait with the dearth of pitchers available? he’s made what, three bad starts?

    there’s no way they’ll pitch him this weekend, so for a pitcher who gave up 2 runs over 6 innings vs the best team in the league, 3 starts doesn’t seem like an overly long evaluation period. So to answer your derisive question, yes, that organization.

    and i believe the original suggestion was to bring homer up for a start or two, so zambrano counts.

    why don’t you look at the whole list of pitchers who’ve debuted in that period and see what percentage of them are considered aces. there aren’t that many out there, so it’s got to be pretty low.

    point being, not all prospects work out, of any age, that’s why they’re prospects. Homer might not have what it takes, but all the scouts seem to think he does. If they think he’s major league ready, i wouldn’t hold him back just because other people have failed.

    Personally i doubt that he’s ready from what kriv has said, but that’s why i wouldn’t bring him up, not superstition. why not compare him to people who have put up similar stats at the levels he’s pitched? that would be more conclusive to me.

  4. Steve

    I’m missing something here, guys. The Joe Mays situation is baffling, especially when Germano seems primed for a callup for that start on Saturday. Surely, he would inspire more confidence than Mays.

    Still, IF the organization thinks Homer’s ready to at least get his feet wet for a few starts, other than from an options standpoint, what is really the harm in letting him give it a shot Saturday? I mean, there’s gotta be some reason they won’t bring Germano up for this Saturday start, though they still May(s)(I know, bad pun), but if they WOULD bring Homer up, even for a September look if not now, and the kid can help them win a few more ballgames, then I’m all for it. Heck, he’s going to be pitching anyway (up to 170 innings, of course), so if THEY think he’s ready, or at least is very close, what could be the real harm?

    I mean, come on, Narron jokes about it all the time, but you can tell what he really thinks. Yeah, yeah, I know, Narron’s no genius, but shoot, the guy WAS a major league catcher, and if any manager knows anything about pitchers, it’s a former catcher. Narron thinks he can help – NOW.

    The wild card will probably come down to a game or two when it’s all said and done, and if they blow it by leaving Joe Mays around for a few more starts when they could’ve given Homer (or even Germano) the ball – even for a 5 inning limit – then we’ll all spend the whole offseason saying “What if?” I think it’s worth a try. The organization isn’t going to ruin him by throwing him out there for a taste. They’ve been burned too often already.

  5. al

    as far as the service time clock goes, i don’t really see the argument. If he’s up for a couple weeks/months, that won’t have that much of an impact on his arbitration eligibility, because it won’t allow him to qualify a year early, the only real concern.

    and to me, if we’re still worried about sending homer back to the minors in three years (when his options would become an issue) then many more things will have gone wrong than just starting his clock too early.

    they’re also the same scouts that brought us phillips, ross, hatty and arroyo. and for the record, dumping yan was stupid. the guy had a real good fastball and a 3.60 ERA with us. He might not have been a dominant set up man, but he’s better than weathers, and so far better than majic man.

    and who knows if the scouts had anything to do with mays. maybe he and kriv had a great relationship in Min. and kriv owed him a favor.

    That said, i agree that it seems unlikely to me that a guy who supposedly had a lot to work on going into the year at High A is now major league ready.

    a possiblity i hadn’t thought of ’til now might be to bring up dumatrait or germano, and promote homer to louisville. It doesn’t seem like he has much to prove at AA.

    If he finished the season with the Bats they could put him on the 40 man over the offseason, start him there again next season, and if he had success there bring him up. I think people would feel a lot better about a 21 yr old who’d succeeded at every level of the minors.

  6. Blue

    Bill, that article was terrible and I think it took a lot of guts to say that you agree with the guy considering the quality of writing.

    I think if they can’t find any other in-house solutions or make a trade, they have to give him a shot.