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[Photo credit: The Enquirer/Gary Landers]

Paul Hoynes is the veteran baseball beat writer for the Cleveland Plain Dealer and one of the best at that job. He tweeted Sunday night that the Reds are “getting close” to a deal with Homer Bailey in the neighborhood of $100 million over 6 years. That’s an AAV in the range of $16-17 million, which sounds about right to me, although 6 years is one more than I expected.

[Update: Here’s the report Hoynes filed with the Plain Dealer yesterday and updated Monday morning. It explains the connection between the Bailey/Cincinnati and the Masterson/Cleveland negotiations.

It makes sense that Hoynes’ source is someone in the Masterson or Indians camps, since he’s the Cleveland beat writer. In that case, the source may have only indirect knowledge of the Bailey/Reds discussions. None of the Reds’ beat writers have confirmed Hoynes’ report, further adding to the conclusion that the leak is coming from the Cleveland side.

On the other hand, the Reds and Indians share the Goodyear facility for spring training, so Hoynes has out-of-the-ordinary access to Reds/Bailey sources right now. And like I said in the original post, he’s a great reporter with a long track record of being the guy when it comes to inside news for the Indians.

Yet, it’s important to keep in mind this is all just a rumor. In negotiations, it’s often in the interest of one side or the other to leak numbers as a way to move the needle in the talks. In this case, given the unusual connection with the Masterson contract, the speculation/rumor may even not be coming from someone directly involved with the Bailey deal.]

[Update 2: Homer Bailey confirms that a deal is close. Mark Sheldon’s report has Bailey saying: “It feels like we’re really close. … To say this as confident as I’ve been, yeah, I think so. … There are a lot of things that we have in place, I think. I feel like a majority of it is fairly worked out. It’s some of the little details, I think, that we’re really close with. With us being here and everybody in different time zones, it puts a little bit of a damper on things.”]

Earlier today, Walt Jocketty appeared for an interview on XM Radio and was asked about a long-term contract for Bailey. The Reds general manager’s response was “hopefully we’ll get something done” in the next few days so “if at all possible avoid the hearing.” He’s referring to the arbitration hearing scheduled with the 27-year-old Texan on Thursday of this week.

Jocketty said that “we’re confident that we’ve made enough progress on a multi-year deal that we’ll get it done.”

Particularly intriguing, Jim Bowden suggested in the form of a question the specific contract terms of 6 years/$16 million. In response, Jocketty stiffened up and declined to answer saying that he doesn’t talk about contracts.

More than a coincidence that Bowden would ask about basically the same amount that Hoynes was suggesting tonight?