Reds fans,

The more I think about this, there is no real justifiable reason for Homer Bailey to be in the minors.

The Diamondbacks sent their bigtime pitching prospect, Max Scherzer, back to the minors last year (age 23), and then recalled him…and sent him to the bullpen.

He pitched extremely well. In 16 appearances, he made 7 starts: a total of 56 innings, allowing 48 hits, 21 walks, and striking out 66 with a 3.05 ERA.

Earl Weaver, who had some “moderate” success as a manager, used this as his pitching business “model”. Here’s some information:

Doyle Alexander, 21 year old rookie, 106 innings, 35 games, 9 starts
Roric Harrison, 25 year old rookie, 94 innings, 39 games, 2 starts
Wayne Garland, 23 year old rookie, 91 innings, 20 games, 6 starts,
Paul Mitchell, 25 year old rookie, 57 innings, 11 games, 4 starts
Mike Flanagan, 24 year old rookie, 85 innings, 20 games, 10 starts
Dennis Martinez, 22 year old rookie, 166 innings, 42 games, 13 starts
Scott McGregor, 23 year old rookie, 114 innings, 29 games, 5 starts

Pretty darn good track record, if you ask me; in fact, I found one -– only one -– starting pitcher that joined the Orioles as a youngster and started the majority of his games his rookie year. That was Jesse Jefferson, who didn’t work out. In fact, he was sent to the bullpen the next couple of years to try to work it out.

Jim Palmer was brought along the same way as a 19 year old rookie.

Oh…you may have noticed, the best pitchers started younger than the others. Weaver’s philosophy was give the pitchers time to get used to it, and then put them in the rotation.

Masset is a commodity. It’s time to develop Bailey…and it’s not in the minors.

18 Responses

  1. Mike

    I can appreciate the argument, and the pitchers you point to would certainly argue for it. My concern is that Bailey has never thrown 150 innings in the minors. If he doesn’t go through a full season with a full starters’ workload, do we run the risk of not being able to use him as a starter in the upcoming years.

    How would his arm be conditioned to throw 160 or 180 innings next year, if he only threw 85 innings this year as a reliever?

  2. Chris

    Is there any rule that says he can’t throw 160 innings out of the bullpen and as a spot starter? I know the conventional wisdom is that relievers can’t throw more than one inning, and you need your “7th inning guy” or whatever, but if Bailey is effective, he’s better than Weathers and Burton. Let Homer be the 7th and 8th inning guy, as a default. If his batting spot comes up, hit for him.

  3. RiverCity Redleg

    If a manager has faith in your long relief guy, he will get innings. Sparky Anderson always gave his long reliever plenty of work. Every starter, no matter how good he is, will have days when he is struggling. If you have someone good out in the pen, you won’t hesitate to go to him. I agree with you, Steve, let Homer pitch in the bigs.

  4. Chris W

    Let Homer pitch in relief and give one shot through the opponents order. That will be 2-3 innings of work. I agree with Chris. Don’t use Homer as a specialist. Having Homer pitch on Opening Day would have been a good example. Harang went 5 innings. Bring Bailey in for the 6th and 7th innings. Or even 6th through 8th innings. Then let someone else go the 9th (preferably not Cordero considering we were losing!)

  5. GregD

    They’ll probably need a long reliever tomorrow.

  6. GregD

    http://www.courier-journal.com/article/20090408/SPORTS/904080476/1002/SPORTS

    Louisville article on Bats Opening Day starter Homer Bailey.

    “Bailey isn’t bitter but instead sounds confident and eager for a promotion — and Reds farm director Terry Reynolds doesn’t disagree. In the past the organization expressed concerns about Bailey’s breaking pitches and his ability to hold runners. But Reynolds said Bailey’s recent demotion had more to do with Cincinnati’s depth of starting pitching. “He’s over the hump,” Reynolds said. “I think he’s a major league-ready pitcher. It’s just going to take a spot in Cincinnati for him to get that. He pitched very well this spring. I think everybody is excited about him. I think he’s there.””

  7. Mr. Redlegs

    The Earl Weaver example isn’t a good one because Weaver and George Bamberger, his long-time pitching, didn’t believe in the 5-man rotation. So if a young pitcher was to make the staff, they had no choice but the bullpen. Most of all, Earl based the decision on keeping a youngster based on talent and readiness, not a hyperbolic notion. Of course, the Orioles has a ton of young talent in those days.

  8. Redsfan112235102295

    Homer Bailey should not become a reliever; he should be traded or released. He’s been horrible on every start since being called up. It’s time for the reds to leave Homer Bailey behind and move on.

  9. Normand

    Bailey is much better served as the ace of the Louisville staff. Last season he couldn’t win a game at either level. I appreciate his change of attitude this Spring and he will be the first pitcher called up, but he needs to put up some wins to solidify his confidence. Let him stay on a starter’s schedule and he will be ready to step right into the Red’s lineup.

  10. GregD

    Other teams are doing this. You don’t have to go back to Earl Weaver. The Twins with Johan Santana and Francisco Liriano. The Yankees with Joba Chamberlin. The Reds Sox with Jonathon Papelbon (though they decided to move him into the closer’s role and have so far left him there.)

  11. Sultan of Swaff

    Regardless of name and draft position, you just have to look at what you need from the long man. Plain and simple, most of the time he’s there to put up zeros and give the offense a chance to come back. The second task is to limit exposure to the bullpen so you can save them to fight another day. These are incredibly important tasks in a long season. Masset will not achieve those objectives more than Bailey. Gimme HOMER!!

  12. nycredsfan

    I agree for the most part, I just still worry that he wouldn’t get enough work up with the big club. I know he could, in theory. But do you remember who our manager is? No way Dusty uses him correctly if he’s in some nebulous relief/starter role.

  13. Shane

    I still think his previous attitude is holding him back, even if its changed for the better now. You come up with a smarta$$ cocky attitude and tick off a few people in management and it can take a long time for them to get over it and look at how good you’re really doing at a later point.

  14. Glenn

    I’d rather see Homer in the bigs learning what it takes to be a big league player. He’s got nothing left to prove at AAA.

  15. Dallas

    “Bailey is much better served as the ace of the Louisville staff. Last season he couldn’t win a game at either level. I appreciate his change of attitude this Spring and he will be the first pitcher called up, but he needs to put up some wins to solidify his confidence. Let him stay on a starter’s schedule and he will be ready to step right into the Red’s lineup.”

    Couldn’t agree more. He should EARN a spot in the big leagues, not be given one simply out of obligation. With the hype around him he should be DOMINATING AAA, but by the end of last year he was stinking up the joint. I say he needs to show real improvement before bringing him up.

  16. Dallas

    “I’d rather see Homer in the bigs learning what it takes to be a big league player. He’s got nothing left to prove at AAA.”

    Nothing left to prove? He went 4-7 with a 4.77 ERA in AAA last year. I’d say he needs to prove he can even handle AAA before being given another chance at the main roster.

  17. Fireball44

    Let Homer prove in AAA the first few months of the season that he belongs in the majors. If he performs well there, and there’s still not a spot in the big league rotation, THEN bring him up as a long reliever.

    I like Homer and think he’s turned a corner, but he needs to prove that in AAA.