There’s been a buzz of late among fans especially about the Reds two most promising farm hands, Jay Bruce and Homer Bailey; being brought up to the Major League Level to help out the collective band of stiffs that the Reds are dressing up each night and pretending are a Major League Baseball team.
A lot of this comes from the fact that Bruce (#1 overall prospect in baseball) and Bailey (#8 overall prospect in baseball) are expected to be great pro players. Part of this comes from the fact that Bailey and Bruce have torn it up in AAA Louisville to start the season. Part of this comes from the fact that guys like Corey Patterson, Ryan Freel, Josh Fogg, and Matt Belisle have done little to show that they deserve to be on a Major League roster, even one as bad as the Reds.
We’ve even heard that Bailey may be brought up as a reliever. Similar to what Walt Jocketty did in 2006 in St. Louis with Adam Wainwright (you’ll recall Wainwright made the final out in the 2006 World Series as a bullpen arm).
But the Reds and their management team won’t budge. Hear it from Dusty Baker:
“You’re not going to bring them up and don’t play them,” Baker said Thursday. “You want them to tear it up versus coming here prematurely and then have to go back. Even if we need them, you’ve got to do what’s right, number one, for the kids because when they get here, they’re not going back.”
But Dusty, couldn’t the lowly Reds use these two right now in a big way?
“Need is not the issue right now,” Baker said. “The issue is we’ve got guys here that have done the job and are about to do the job. I mean, are you going to tell me Adam Dunn is not going to hit 40 home runs? Are you going to tell me Griff’s not going to hit 30 home runs?“I’m dying for them to get here. I really am. I’m excited about it. But sometimes you have to sit on your hands and let them play.”
But it sure looks like to me that Bailey and Bruce are deserving of a shot at the ML level. Bruce is hitting .323 with 6 home runs (including another last night) and 18 RBI. Bailey is 4-0 with a 1.03 ERA.
“I’m not there with them,” he said. “I see the reports. Three weeks isn’t a real long period of time. Jay Bruce has been there three weeks and for Homer Bailey it’s his second tour there.”
You’re not winning with the bottom-feeder material you decided to start the season with. We’re not going to get to a World Series this season Dusty, or even the postseason, which if we were you could make the case that the more experienced veterans should be playing so the young guy isn’t at the Major League level with added pressure on him. Since we’re a lousy team, these young guys should get the opportunity to learn on the job now, so that in a few years or maybe even next year God-willing when we might be good, they’re more prepared.
Our predcition? The Reds front office stubbornly continues to hold off as long as possible to make the easiest call they’ve made in years on two young players. This comes from the fact it’s so cut and dry that it’s nearly slapping Walk Jocketty & company in the face that these two need to be up here, therefore they’re going to wait it out as long as possible. That is the way the Reds have done things for the last decade.
Bailey will be the first guy up. It will be early to mid-May. Things will have gotten so bad for the Reds 4th and 5th starter (since Bronson Arroyo and Matt Belisle can’t get guys out anymore) that the Reds will insert Bailey into the rotation.
Bruce will have to wait a little longer. He’ll continue to rake AAA pitching like it’s his job (it is his job) and he’ll be up mid to late July when the Reds trade Adam Dunn or Ken Griffey Jr., by which point they’ll be 12 games out of the Central division and the season will be long over because they’ve decided to trot out Corey Patterson, Norris Hopper and Ryan Freel for most of the season.