Homer Bailey Rumors
To put it mildly, this has been a rough year for Reds fans. Edinson Volquez had the Cincinnati faithful buzzing after posting a 3.21 ERA with 9.5 K/9 in his first full season in 2008. After logging just nine starts in the 2009 campaign, Volquez needed surgery to repair damage in his right elbow. The Reds faded fast as their depleted staff wasn't getting much of a lift from their sagging offense. Injuries to Joey Votto and Edwin Encarnacion (prior to being dealt to Toronto) certainly didn't do them any favors.
However, if the team's recent performance is any indication of what lies ahead, Reds fans might have something to cheer about in 2010. Dusty Baker's squad has gone 19-11 since September 1st, thanks in part to stronger pitching (3.39 team ERA) and the return of Jay Bruce, who missed two months with a broken wrist.
Buster Olney, Baseball Prospectus and the ESPN Insider staff compiled a glance at this past season and what to expect next year in Cincy. An ESPN Insider account is needed to read the article, but here are the brass tacks for those without:
- It's no secret that the Reds don't have a top-flight budget. They opened this season with a payroll of $73MM and owner Bob Castellini isn't going to "go all Steinbrenner" and tack-on much more.
- Further exacerbating their financial woes are their pricey commitments to Bronson Arroyo, Francisco Cordero, Aaron Harang and Scott Rolen. Combined, these four players are owed $46.5 million next season.
- Olney says that considering their lack of flexibility this offseason, Homer Bailey might be their best chance for improvement as he recorded a 2.41 ERA in September. The velocity that made Bailey such a highly-coveted prospect has returned, with his fastball being clocked at an average of 94.5 MPH this year. This is a big step-up from his previous big league work and could spell an even bigger jump in 2010.
- Baseball Prospectus says that their "acceptable" rate of 4.5 runs allowed per game is due in part to their much-improved defense. It will be interesting to see if defensive-minded yet weak-hitting shortstop Paul Janish will be the Reds' starter next season. Manager Dusty Baker said on Friday that a "definitive decision" hasn't been made yet.
- Jay Jaffe of Baseball Prospectus notes that the combined efforts of all Reds batting in the top two lineup spots resulted in a slash line of .245/.301/.354. When Willy Taveras hit the DL in August, Dusty Baker put rookie Drew Stubbs and the aforementioned Janish at the top of the order. The team has gone 27-15 since then, but Jaffe attributes most of the credit for that to the improved performance of the pitching staff.
- The "Rumor Central" portion of the piece encourages Reds fans that are anxious to see the team acquire a big bat to consider what the offense is capable of if they are healthy. Injury-free seasons from Bruce and Votto should give Cincinnati a major boost.
- The report says to expect the Reds to tender Jonny Gomes an offer as he is arbitration-eligible. This should come as no surprise as Gomes has belted 20 HRs in 311 plate appearances while posting .266/.338/.540.
- Jaffe says that Jocketty could deal Arroyo or Harang to give the team room to make a mid-level signing this winter. He adds, "...It's difficult to envision this team breaking out of the middle of the pack without keen vision and bold steps."
1:21pm: Danny Knobler believes the White Sox want to see whether they can move Dye for pitching before entering the free agent market.
WEDNESDAY, 12:23pm: Ken Rosenthal says the Dye-Reds discussions continue at a moderate level, but for now the Sox expect Dye to be their Opening Day right fielder. A deal was close at one point, but Dye's salary became an issue for the Reds. Rosenthal specualates that the Reds could now just try to get a bargain on Bobby Abreu or Pat Burrell.
TUESDAY, 10:37pm: MLB.com's Scott Merkin says the White Sox have not talked to the Braves since the Javier Vazquez deal. It's been a quiet Winter Meetings for the Sox so far.
11:11am: From SI.com's Jon Heyman:
A person familiar with the White Sox's thinking said late Monday night, "The Jermaine Dye trades are dead ... for tonight, anyway.''
Heyman says the Rays, Braves, and Reds were among ten teams to to express interest. He adds that Homer Bailey alone would not have been enough.
9:06pm: Ken Williams speaks. No Dye trade, but plenty of interest.
6:26pm: Dusty Baker spoke about the Dye trade talks today, saying he thought they were "kind of off because of economics and because everybody wants your young players."
MONDAY, 4:24pm: McCoy talks more about the rumor he originated. He said a reliable White Sox insider told him the Dye deal was in place and wonders if Ken Williams changed his mind.
SUNDAY, 10:06pm: Walt Jocketty on the report: "Wrong. It's not even close." The Reds haven't had talks with the Sox since before Thanksgiving.
9:32pm: ESPN's Jerry Crasnick adds that Dye and his agent "haven't heard a word" about a trade. Reds assistant GM Bob Miller rejected the report, adding, "We haven't talked to White Sox since we got here."
8:51pm: Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune says "a source familiar with the talks" rejected the report below. The Sox want more than just Bailey. Gonzales' source adds that talks with the Mets for Bobby Jenks fell apart over Omar Minaya's unwillingness to include Bobby Parnell.
7:46pm: According to Hal McCoy of the Dayton Daily News, a Major League source told him a Homer Bailey for Jermaine Dye trade "is done and will be announced this week."
It'd essentially be six years of Bailey for one of Dye (plus possible draft pick compensation), as Dye has a mutual option for 2010 at $12MM. Those almost never get fully exercised - if one side wants it, the other doesn't. It would be interesting to see what the White Sox could do with Bailey given their recent success developing young pitchers.
We've added a few new Winter Meetings preview to the collection...
- Yahoo's Tim Brown runs through plans for all of the American and National League teams.
- Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post says the Rockies are all about left-handed relief help. They've got several trade chips to work with.
- Jim Salisbury of the Philadelphia Inquirer has the Phillies covered. You know the plan: starting pitcher, outfielder.
- Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reminds us of the Cardinals' wish list: starter, closer, lefthanded reliever. Arthur Rhodes would fit, but he's leaning toward the Reds. Strauss wonders if John Mozeliak can match up with the Blue Jays to find relief help.
- The Twins still want to add a shortstop or third baseman according to La Velle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, though several options have already been eliminated. Neal summarizes the players on the radar. The Twins are also looking for bullpen help.
- Tom Krasovic of the San Diego Union-Tribune discusses the Padres. Kevin Towers will keep the Jake Peavy talks going with the Cubs while also searching for a shortstop and veteran catcher.
- Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune reminds us that Peavy and a left-handed hitting outfielder are on the Cubs' wish list. The bat comes first, says Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times.
- Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star says Dayton Moore has already accomplished his main goals, and now looks to replenish his right-handed relief. The Royals would also like to add a proven middle infielder and seem to have a glut of corner/DH types.
- Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic and Jack Magruder of the East Valley Tribune analyze the Diamondbacks. Josh Byrnes seeks a second baseman, left-handed reliever, and pitching in general. Miguel Montero is the top trade chip. They have about $10MM to spend, less if Brandon Lyon accepts arbitration.
- Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News says the Rangers could trade Gerald Laird, Hank Blalock, Kevin Millwood, or Vicente Padilla.
- Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel talked to Doug Melvin about C.C. Sabathia, who still hasn't reacted to their offer. If Sabathia and Ben Sheets leave, Melvin could add two starters. Melvin also said it'd be too risky to trade J.J. Hardy and start Alcides Escobar at short. Rickie Weeks has drawn interest, but Melvin would require "a pretty good hitter" in return. Mike Cameron is a more likely trade chip. As for the team's closer search, Melvin doesn't expect to be in on the big names.
- Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post says the Marlins probably won't steal headlines at these Winter Meetings as they did in '07. Still, Jorge Cantu, Matt Treanor, and Jeremy Hermida may be dealt. The Fish have been "actively shopping" Treanor and Hermida. The Marlins have mild interest in free agents Ivan Rodriguez and Carl Pavano.
- Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune says Ken Williams has asked the Reds about Homer Bailey. Could the Reds match up for Jermaine Dye? The White Sox hope to add more MLB-ready starting pitching and maybe a backup catcher.
- The Orioles need starting pitching, with a slew of names under consideration according to Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun: A.J. Burnett, Paul Byrd, Jon Garland, Mark Hendrickson, Braden Looper, Randy Wolf, Kenshin Kawakami, Koji Uehara, Bartolo Colon, and Matt Clement. The O's also hope to extend Brian Roberts, trade Ramon Hernandez, and find a shortstop. They have interest in Adam Everett.
- Roch Kubatko of MASN Online explains what it's like for a reporter at the Meetings.
According to John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer, the Giants are interested in Reds third baseman Edwin Encarnacion. Fay considers EE the most likely Red to be traded, with Homer Bailey second on that list. Encarnacion, 26 in January, hit .251/.340/.466 in 582 plate appearances while playing poor defense. He's arbitration-eligible for the first time this winter, so he's under team control for three more seasons.
Fay also notes that Walt Jocketty and Jim Bowden haven't matched up on a trade in over ten years, and Joey Votto isn't going anywhere. Yesterday ESPN's Jerry Crasnick said the Nationals explored trading for Votto (among others).
One more note: David Weathers is negotiating with several teams, Reds included. Nothing is close.
According to Jon Paul Morosi of the Detroit Free Press, the Tigers continue to have interest in Rangers catcher Gerald Laird. Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News says the Tigers "seem to have the most ardent interest" in Laird, and a trade could save Texas nearly $3MM. Grant believes the Reds are another possibility; would they trade Homer Bailey for him? Laird, a Scott Boras client, is under team control for two more seasons.
Morosi says the Tigers also like Miguel Montero of the D'Backs, but the teams don't seem to match up well. Another note - Morosi says the Tigers are not interested in Padres shortstop Khalil Greene.
SUNDAY: A small update from Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune - any deal involving the Reds and Dye is "complicated by financial matters." Not sure why; Dye is only on the hook for $11.5MM next year.
SATURDAY: John Fay got Walt Jocketty to admit he's talked to the White Sox (nothing is close). Jocketty's non-denial about the Dye rumor seems to indicate it's accurate.
TUESDAY, 5:42pm: MLB.com's Scott Merkin notes that the Mets and Phillies are two of the six teams on Dye's no-trade list. Dye's agent, Bob Bry, has not been contacted by Ken Williams in regard to a possible trade to either club. The Reds don't appear to be on the list, though, so Williams would not need clearance to make a deal with them.
12:13pm: Lance McAlister of 1530 WCKY in Cincinnati has a rumor up regarding trade talks between the White Sox and Reds.
McAlister's source says the White Sox initiated talks to send Jermaine Dye to the Reds for Homer Bailey and another player. Ken Rosenthal says Dye's no-trade clause mostly covers teams in the northeast. Perhaps the Sox can trade him to the Reds without his consent. Ken Williams and Walt Jocketty matched up in July on the Ken Griffey Jr. trade. It's known that Jocketty prefers trades to free agency.
John Perrotto of Baseball Prospectus has his Sunday article up. Let's go through it:
- The Angels may be willing to match the Yankees $140MM offer to CC Sabathia. They won't offer 10 years to Mark Teixeira. If they can't land Teixeira, they will consider Pat Burrell for first base.
- A.J. Burnett is looking at the Blue Jays, Red Sox, Yankees, Braves, Orioles, and Phillies.
- The Twins want a left-side infielder for Delmon Young, so they can open a spot for Denard Span in the starting lineup.
- The Tigers are pursuing Jack Wilson from the Pirates and Matt Treanor from the Marlins. They are also putting high priority on signing Joe Beimel who's getting interest from a number of teams.
- The Dodgers will not re-sign Rafael Furcal for health reasons so the Giants, Athletics, and Reds are his most likely destinations.
- The Cubs will need to offer more than Jason Marquis to the Royals for David DeJesus. If they can't get it done, they'd sign Raul Ibanez over Bobby Abreu.
- The Braves are interested in Javier Vazquez and Jermaine Dye...
- The Reds need to offer more than Homer Bailey to get Dye.
- The Mets are considering Jon Garland, Vazquez, Edwin Jackson, Andy Sonnanstine. The Rays want more than Aaron Heilman for either of their starters.
- The Mets could soon become suitors for Manny Ramirez.
- The Brewers could soon become suitors for Francisco Rodriguez.
- The Astros are targeting Paul Bako and David Ross as backup catchers.
- The Rockies are trying to find lefthanders, eyeing Alan Embree, Will Ohman, Brian Shouse, and Glendon Rusch.
- The Rockies will offer arbitration to Brian Fuentes, who is a Type A free agent. Obviously it's all about the two draft picks, as Fuentes will decline. He'll probably sign with a team with an unprotected first-round pick, too.
- Harding says the Rockies are already receiving calls on Huston Street. ESPN's Buster Olney says Dan O'Dowd is telling other GMs he won't trade Street, but some believe it's posturing.
- O'Dowd backed off a bit on the idea of re-signing Glendon Rusch and Scott Podsednik, saying he wants to make sure there's a role for them in Colorado.
- The Rockies won't be diving in on any big-name free agent pitchers. They'll either stand pat or pursue trades.
- O'Dowd called the Reds trade rumors "comical." The Rockies, by the way, are apparently not interested in Homer Bailey.
Buster Olney has a new column up. Let's take a look:
- He suggests Randy Wolf as a "possible trade chip" with the Padres looking increasingly out of it this year. One problem: Wolf has veto power over trades to 14 teams. He's been decent this year, with a 4.13 ERA and 89 strikeouts in 98 innings, but nothing to get too excited over.
- Gossip item: the Mets could have had Kyle Lohse for what the Cardinals are paying ($4.25MM), only Omar Minaya passed.
- Olney doesn't see much in the speculation about the Angels wanting C.C. Sabathia. With Kelvim Escobar's rehab going well, great first-half performances from Joe Saunders and Ervin Santana, and John Lackey likely to improve going forward, why should they make a push for C.C.? Olney sees the Brewers and the Cubs as more interested parties. (Ken Rosenthal mentioned the Brewers and the Rays as C.C. suitors yesterday.) Later in the post, Olney notes that Sabathia has a 1.96 ERA in his last fourteen starts. Yowza.
- How the Rockies fare over the next two weeks could determine what becomes of Brian Fuentes.
- Olney can't decide whether the Orioles should buy or sell. What do you think?
- Roy Oswalt won't get traded, with Olney linking to the Houston Chronicle's Richard Justice for his evidence. (Oswalt has, of course, been talking like he'd prefer to be somewhere else.) Also working against a deal for Oswalt: his continued experiments with pitching to contact (to keep the ol' pitch count down) haven't been going very well this year, either. His K/9 has been declining for years, of course, but it may have reached a point of no return this season. Whatever happens, I'm sure the 'stros would prefer to move him at peak value, not right now when he has a 4.77 ERA.
- Homer Bailey, back in Triple A Louisville, isn't getting any love from the scout quoted here, who says he threw "batting practice fastballs." Bailey was 0-3 with a 8.73 ERA in the majors this year after a hotly anticipated call-up. Given the bounty of young arms they already have, the Reds would probably prefer to trade him...but alas, his value has dropped the way his curveball used to.