The A’s signed right-hander Homer Bailey to a minor league deal earlier this week and assigned the veteran to Triple-A Las Vegas. This is Bailey’s second stint with Oakland, after first joining the organization via a trade from the Royals in July 2019 and then posting a 4.30 ERA over 13 starts and 73 1/3 innings in the green and gold.
Bailey was a front-of-the-rotation arm during his prime years in Cincinnati, which included no-hitters in both 2012 and 2013. This led to a six-year, $105MM extension prior to the 2014 season that unfortunately became something of an albatross for the team, as Bailey battled multiple injuries (including a Tommy John surgery) over his remaining five years with the Reds. However, after catching on with the Royals on a minors deal, he rebounded to post serviceable numbers over 163 1/3 combined innings with K.C. and Oakland in 2019, with a 4.57 ERA/4.60 SIERA and an above-average 7.6% walk rate.
Injuries again hampered Bailey in 2020, as biceps tendinitis limited him to only eight innings with the Twins. The righty didn’t sign with another team during the winter, though he did make Team USA’s roster for the Olympic baseball qualifying tournament.
The 35-year-old has by far the most experience of any pitcher in the Athletics farm system, and Bailey is likely to remain on hand as a depth option should an injury or a need arise in Oakland’s rotation. Mike Fiers was re-signed last February to fill that veteran depth role, though Fiers has been on the injured list since early May due to an elbow sprain and will out of action at least through July after receiving a PRP injection. It’s probably safe to assume that the A’s will continue to seek out more pitching (both for the rotation and the bullpen) as the July 30 trade deadline nears.