Bailey, 33 in May, was part of the pre-holiday Reds-Dodgers swap that sent Matt Kemp, Yasiel Puig, and Alex Wood to Cincinnati. There as a salary placeholder only, meant to offset, with the $28MM remaining on his deal, the sizable chunk still owed to Kemp, Bailey was immediately released by Los Angeles upon official approval of the deal by the Commissioner’s office.
After the 2013 season, in which Bailey parlayed a 3.49 ERA/3.31 FIP/3.34 xFIP (4.1 fWAR) campaign into a 6-year, $105MM extension, the former first-rounder has done little to nothing since. A solid, albeit injury-shortened, 2014 campaign was followed by a string of elbow troubles, kicked off by a 2015 Tommy John and culminating with a surgery, two years later, to remove bone spurs in the area.
Bailey’s 2018 was marred by right knee inflammation and a dangerous penchant for surrendering the longball – in 106 1/3 IP, Bailey allowed a staggering 23 bombs for Cincinnati, posting a 6.09 ERA/5.55 FIP mark that was only a slight decline from the year prior. Though his average fastball velocity has remained mostly steady, at 93.8 MPH, its efficacy has waned considerably: by FanGraphs’ measure, the pitch has been among the league’s worst in the category over the last two seasons, with the righty’s swinging strike rate plummeting to below 9%. Bailey, who once relied on the four-seamer over 72% of the time at its peak, has never boasted much in the way of swing-and-miss secondary stuff.
The Royals, who appear primed to enter the 2019 campaign with the underwhelming Brad Keller/Jakob Junis duo at the top of the rotation, may yet have a place for Homer at the rotation’s back end. Lingering gopher-ball issues could certainly be assuaged in the cavernous Kauffman Stadium dimensions, so perhaps the rebuilding Royals are a perfect place for Bailey to attempt a career resurrection.