Really sad news today coming out of the Queen City. Homer Bailey will have Tommy John surgery, ending his 2015 season and adding questions to when he will be back in 2016, and what kind of pitcher will come back when it happens.
Bailey has always been one of our favorite starting pitchers in the big leagues. We remember the 2004 day that Homer Bailey was drafted; the reports that came out were that he didn’t really care for baseball. He just did it because he could make a lot of money at it and threw hard. That’s proven to be false; there has always been an immense tiger in this guy’s tank.
Then there were reports that Bailey wouldn’t listen to coaching and suggestions about his pitch repertoire. Again, Bailey seemed to adapt and adjust as a soulful member of the Reds clubhouse. He may have never been in contention for a Cy Young, but when this guy was on; he was absolutely unhittable. He did learn to pitch, and he definitely took instruction.
We point to obviously the two no-hitters and game three of the 2012 NLDS – a game that Bailey should have won at home in Cincinnati to send the Reds to the NLCS and possibly on to a title. Those were the moments where you saw Bailey at his absolute best. There were parts of two seasons earlier in his career where down the stretch, he was one of the best pitchers in baseball. You saw flashes, you just never got it for the entire year.
Unfortunately, this seems to be another domino falling in what we knew was going to be an inevitable end to a window for the current nucleus.
The Reds will come to task from the media for handing Bailey that huge contract extension; but they did it for their fans. This guy threw two no hitters. Scouts saw the same thing we all did: a guy who could blow people away with 97 late in the game after 100 pitches. That said, everyone remarked on the high stress delivery Bailey had. Every time we joked with some friends about who we wanted in the ‘who is next for Tommy John’ pool, Bailey was the only name we wanted in the draft. Now it’s no longer a joke. It’s very possible that Homer Bailey never regains his dominant form.
It’s been a helluva ride, and we’re rooting for the guy. He’s definitely in our top 10 favorite starting pitchers of all time. We don’t want to sound like this is an obituary for the guy’s career; we’re rooting for you Homer and hope to see you take the ball again every fifth day and end your career in Cincinnati on a high note. Teaching that next youngster how to grab the bull rope when the lights go on.