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Cincinnati Reds: The bad and the Bailey

“Positive Momentum”

Recently, the Reds made minimal moves at the trade deadline for a team that is supposedly rebuilding. The reason behind the lack of moves was due to the “positive momentum” the Reds were experiencing. There is no doubt the Reds have been playing much better ball than the last two seasons. But the Reds are just about one win better than they were in the previous two seasons when September arrived, and the front office appears to have no intention on improving the club.

In May, an article was published by myself on our site about “Beginning the Breakup With Homer Bailey”. Entering the final month of the season, the breakup has yet to happen. Bob Castellini has made it known that he is dedicated to his players, following recent quotes about Billy Hamilton and his insistence on starting Bailey every week.

A Veteran Without Leadership

It would be different if Bailey was offering any sort of value to the club, whether it be on the mound or in the clubhouse. Instead, Bailey has become the most toxic pitcher to any team in 2018. Not only does Bailey hoist the title of the worst pitcher of 2018, a topic we will dive into soon, he also refuses to move to the bullpen, which could possibly help the club, or at least allow younger starters to prove their worth.

(Photo Courtesy: MLB Trade Rumors)

When Bronson Arroyo was a Red in decline, he contributed to the club with a positive clubhouse environment and valuable veteran leadership. With Bailey, he continues to be a clubhouse cancer while thinking he still has the talent of an MLB starter.

The Bottom of the Barrel

Bailey has started 20 games in 2018 for the Reds. Of those twenty games, the Reds have won only one game. Yes, you read that correctly. One game. His 1-14 record has only happened 13 times, and only five times since 1990, with one of those seasons pitched by one-handed pitcher Jim Abbott.

Among pitchers with over 100 innings pitched in 2018, Bailey’s stats are nothing short of cringe-worthy. He has the worst earned run average in the major leagues at 6.09. He has the worst batting average against at .313. The worst slugging percentage against at .541. The worst OPS at .901, and the worst WAR amongst pitchers at -1.7.

It seems almost impossible that a pitcher that threw two no-hitters a few seasons ago can produce at a rate as poor as this. A pitcher receiving, because earning would not be the proper word, the contract he currently holds, can’t pitch this lousy.

The Memories

Bailey gave the city of Cincinnati two of the most memorable moments since their 1990 World Series win. His no-hitters will forever be remembered in Reds’ history. Watching Ryan Hanigan hug Bailey after blanking both the Pittsburgh Pirates and the San Francisco Giants will live on in Reds’ fans memories forever. But the last time that happened was in 2013. Five years and a multitude of injuries ultimately led to the downfall, but that is no excuse to continue to put him on the mound every week.

Bailey has fallen victim to the worst run support in the National League, but that is not an excuse when he can rarely pitch six complete innings. His lack of run support is also not an excuse, because the Reds would have to score more runs than Bailey allows, which is not an easy task to accomplish. He has been on a somewhat successful run as of late when it comes to runs allowed, but that streak might as well not matter when he struggles to pitch deep into games.

Who is Ultimately to Blame?

While it is aggravating that Bailey continues to get starts over the young hopefuls in the Reds rotation, he is not entirely to blame. He did refuse a bullpen role which is aggravating for Cincinnati fans, but the Reds ownership control the team and allowed him to refuse it and continue to start.

If Castellini truly cared about winning, Bailey’s refusal to move to the bullpen should not matter. Bailey does not run the team. Either Riggleman would force Bailey to the bullpen, general manager Dick Williams would remove him from the major league club, or Castellini would tell either of the two to make either move. The fact of the matter is, Castellini knows how much money he spent on Bailey and does not want to cut his losses, even though that would hands down be the best option for the club.

(Photo Courtesy: ESPN 1530)

Bailey will finish the season starting for the Reds. When 2019 rolls around, it is probable that Bailey will be in the rotation. The Reds are set to have a chance to compete in 2019, if they continue to run the team the way they currently are, hopes may be dashed sooner than later. Bailey will not help the team compete in the future. The sooner the Reds realize that, the sooner they will be on track for another postseason run.

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