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.