Even before Bailey, scheduled for four innings, pitched 3 1/3 innings and gave up six runs and seven hits (76 pitches, 46 strikes), a club official told the Dayton Daily News that Bailey is minor-league material.
He said Bailey needs to accumulate innings, develop his off-speed pitches, work to become more efficient (fewer balls, more strikes) and work on his attitude.
This makes me wonder if the rumors about the Reds being concerned about Bailey’s progress or abilities are true. One the one hand, they refused to trade Bailey over the off-season (or couldn’t find the right deal), but on the other…these rumors about Bailey’s coachability and progress have been around for a little while now and they don’t seem to be going away.
In his own defense, Bailey pointed out that he has started against the New York Yankees and against the Red Sox twice, all three games on the road and against the regular lineups.
Bailey has a point here. It’s a lot easier to look good pitching against Pittsburgh (or some other team’s soon to be minor leaguers) than it is against starters on teams that will win close to 100 games this season.
In another article, McCoy says:
It is looking more and more as if Bailey might not be in the season-opening rotation, that he might start the season at Class AAA Louisville. As one club insider said, “He’ll go pitch some innings, learn to throw more strikes, sharpen his pitches and adjust his attitude.”
I think this is probably the same quote that is used above, just reworded…
“He couldn’t close the door when he had the chance,” said Reds manager Dusty Baker, not realizing it is difficult to close a revolving door. “It was his pitch count again. We wanted five innings of 70 pitches, but he passed that after 3 1/3.”
Pitch count was what got him against the Yankees on TV Monday night also. His “stuff” didn’t appear to be the problem, but he couldn’t finish off hitters when he got ahead.
Bailey on his “attitude”:
On this day, before he pitched and nearly alone in the room, Bailey was an affable young man, even offering an off-color joke at which he laughed heartily at the punch line.
So why is he sometimes gruff with the media?
“I don’t like answering questions,” he said. “It’s all perception. What some people perceive one way, I or somebody else might perceive in a different manner,” said the 21-year-old right-hander and No. 1 draft pick in 2004.
“Some people might say that Homer Bailey is struggling this spring,” he said. “My perception? This is my third straight. I’ve faced the Boston Red Sox, the New York Yankees and the Red Sox again, all in their ballpark where they played their regulars.”
Bailey isn’t complaining, just directing people to the facts. In fact, he said he likes it.
“This is helpful to me if I’m pitching with the big team at the time,” he said. “We play both the Yankees and Red Sox (in interleague) this year. I can make mistakes to their big hitters right now, and it doesn’t cost the team, plus I learn what not to throw them the next time I face them.”
I have less concern about Bailey’s abilities than I do about the talk about his attitude. In my opinion, for a young player to show signs of being an attitude problem both within the organization and in dealing with the press shows that he doesn’t understand what it will take to make him an effective major leaguer or what will make him popular where he plays.
I would never claim to know enough to lecture someone on what it takes to be an effective pitcher in the major leagues, but I would tell him that if he wants to be a popular player in Cincinnati, showing a superior attitude and being difficult to the press will not make you popular in this town. Look at the players that have been huge fan favorites (Rose, Bench, Sabo, Morris, Casey, and now Phillips), many times their fan friendly attitude meant more than their abilities.