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Front Page: Is Homer Bailey the Next Martin Perez?

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#1 Nick Nelson

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Posted 01 January 2020 - 08:59 PM

For a few glorious weeks, it appeared the Twins had struck gold with Martin Perez, an under-the-radar free agent signing that initially seemed to validate the front office's questionable rotation gamble. Then, it all fell apart.

Newly signed right-hander Homer Bailey is a similar specimen in many ways. Can he sustain as a success story for Minnesota?The Perez experiment is considered a failure in the eyes of many fans, but I'm not sure that's entirely fair. I was as skeptical as anyone of the value-driven acquisition at first, until I got down to spring training and saw the lefty with my own two eyes. All the talk about a mid-90s fastball and newly weaponized cutter... it was legit. He looked fantastic.

That carried over into the regular season. Through his first handful of turns in the rotation, Perez looked almost unhittable. The fastball/cutter combo was playing exactly to plan, and it appeared Minnesota's front office had unearthed an absolute gem. Things turned ugly from there, but Perez still wasn't a crippling liability; the Twins went 11-10 in his starts after June 1st, even as he posted a 5.93 ERA. He did what he needed as a fifth starter on a phenomenal offensive team. (And his appeal didn't totally wear off, since Chaim Bloom and the Red Sox quickly snatched him up for almost twice what Minnesota paid a year ago.) But obviously, the Twins needed to aim higher with his replacement in efforts to upgrade the rotation.

The similarities with Bailey aren't hard to see. Both were former top prospects who'd shown only flashes of excellence in the majors. Both went on intriguing late runs to finish the prior season – Perez showing gas out of the Rangers bullpen in late 2018, and Bailey looking brilliant down the stretch for Oakland in 2019. And in both cases, the Twins saw specific things they felt they could activate or tweak to improve results. The quotes from Derek Falvey after both signings ring quite similar.





The key distinction, however, is that Bailey has already actualized his revival to some degree, riding his adjustments to a 2.25 ERA and 48-to-7 K/BB ratio in his final eight starts with the A's. The splitter he began unleashing with devastating efficacy is surely at the heart of Minnesota's assessment.





Perez's upside was always theoretical, founded on a brief bullpen stint and a lot of projection, unlike Bailey's fairly convincing stretch run which included impressive showings against the Yankees (twice) and Astros. Plus, Twins pitching coach Wes Johnson now has a year of experience under his belt, whereas last year he was finding his way as a first-time MLB coach straight out of college.

So there's more palpable reason for enthusiasm in Bailey's case. Still, one thing I can't get past is the lack of demand for either player on the open market. It wasn't terribly surprising that Perez got only one year and $3.5 million guaranteed, given his ugly 2018 season and the leap of faith being taken by Minnesota's front office in his case. But Bailey's late-season dominance in 2019 was on display for all to see. That splitter is no secret. He still couldn't get more than $7 million guaranteed, at a time where the hunger for quality starting pitching is ravenous?

That's conspicuous. It doesn't mean the Twins are wrong to believe in Bailey, but clearly they're bigger believers than others – including the Athletics, who saw his prowess first-hand and didn't seemingly push too hard to retain him. After seeing Minnesota's ostensible "bargain" deals for Lance Lynn and Logan Morrison in 2018 prove to be anything but, there's a warranted wariness that comes along with these low-dollar one-year pacts.

That sort of drives back to a general frustration with the team's continued lack of spending to address needs. It's not the money that matters, but what it represents: a willingness to aggressively pursue assets that are generating market demand. The signing announced in tandem with Bailey – Rich Hill for $3 million plus incentives – falls into the exact same basket.

It wouldn't shock me in the least if Bailey turns into a quality mid-rotation starter for Minnesota, joining the stable that is already in place. He's likely to be an upgrade over Perez, but right now, that isn't the guy he's replacing. It's Kyle Gibson, who signed with Texas for $30 million, for three years, early in the offseason. (Market demand.)

It's Gibson's spot the Twins should now be seeking to upgrade, and hopefully in a very significant way. As enticing a proposition for late-season impact as Hill might be, the 40-year-old shouldn't be viewed as more than a wild-card factor. There's still work left to do, and if the flexibility preserved by these budget-friendly signings is put to good use, the Bailey and Hill moves will look all the better in hindsight.

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#2 tvagle

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Posted 01 January 2020 - 09:26 PM

My Apologies Nick...but this Article Title adds to my Cold Stove Malaise

 

Hoping for similar success to a pitcher that didn't even make the playoff roster is not a conversation that makes me want to buy tickets

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I'm going to need a Falvine definition of the word IMPACT in regards to MLB Hurlers


#3 D.C Twins

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Posted 01 January 2020 - 09:27 PM

I'll refrain from rolling out my now tired complaints about the offseason :)

 

I do like that you brought up Gibson. It was my understanding that we let Gibson go because we intended to add that money to a pile of other money to get 'impact' pitching. Which made sense....except that is not what we did.

 

We took 1/3 of the price of Gibson's contract to sign a likely inferior pitcher in addition to a 40 year old coming off a new-ish surgery to repair an older surgery to HIS ELBOW LIGAMENT IN HIS THROWING ARM! (holy crap!).

 

Yes, Gibson has an inflammatory bowel disease, but there is a MUCH better chance that this can be managed medically going forward (especially with an off season to get onto a stable regiment of steroid sparing chronic immunosuppression therapy)....

 

 than a torn ligament in the throwing elbow of a 40 year old pitcher.

 

In summary, Nick, you bring up an interesting discussion.point.... would we have been better off signing Gibson to 30 mil at 3 years or the dynamic duo above?

 

I personally think that Hill will not be able to provide a significant impact and that Gibson will be better than Homer...so....interesting.

 

And remember in this thought experiment....we are back to having exactly ONE pitcher under contract AGAIN next off season!!!

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#4 Nick Nelson

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Posted 01 January 2020 - 09:33 PM

 

My Apologies Nick...but this Article Title adds to my Cold Stove Malaise

 

Hoping for similar success to a pitcher that didn't even make the playoff roster is not a conversation that makes me want to buy tickets

The title was not intended to be aspirational. It's more about, can he avoid being the next Martin Perez? 

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#5 IndianaTwin

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Posted 01 January 2020 - 09:42 PM

 

 

...And remember in this thought experiment....we are back to having exactly ONE pitcher under contract AGAIN next off season!!!

 

Berrios

Pineda

+ any of the rookies who have emerged. 

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#6 Twodogs

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Posted 01 January 2020 - 09:42 PM

So I'd say Bailey, as poor to average as he has been over his career, he still has had a career. Sort of, so he has at different points in time, had some success. Last year was one of those years. Whereas Perez started the year very hot, then he really faded down the stretch. I was shocked at how hard he was throwing at the beginning of the year, it seemed like he lost some of that velocity as the year wore on? Everyone was surprised at the 95-96 mph at the beginning of the year and they were comparing him to Johan Santana. So he definitely had the stuff at one point, then it disappeard? So I kinda though they would have brought him back, they had an option on him, maybe do a little more fixing, but they didn't. So now we have Bailey, he has done some stuff in his career, now we will see if the Twins can squeeze out one good year out of him.

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#7 Monkeypaws

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Posted 01 January 2020 - 10:05 PM

If they get healthy Bailey, I like the signing. He had TJ in 2015, and surgery to remove bone spurs in the elbow in 2017, and knee inflammation in 2018.

 

BTW, apparently Homer is a nickname after his great-grandfather. His real name is David Bailey.

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#8 Brandon

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Posted 01 January 2020 - 10:30 PM

I will like the signings with one more upside play. If we could sign one of Walker or Wood. With more lottery tickets you increase the odds of hitting on one. We have 4 starter prospects who can either start or are good fill ins for a start or two. We also have several others on the way up so we have lots of opportunities for a starter to step up and be a number 2/3 starter.

Rotation
Berrios
Odorizzi
Pineda replacement for 6 weeks
Homer Bailey

The 4 who can step in
Graterol
Smeltzer
Thorpe
Dobnak

Several others should be ready at various points throughout the season as well
Jax
Poppen
Wells
Alcala

It will be interesting to see how this plays out. Though again I would be happier with a Wood or Walker signing to top this off.

#9 tvagle

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Posted 01 January 2020 - 10:45 PM

Someone will have to come off the 40-man once the Bailey and Hill signings are official...so who's your guess?

 

Wisler

Poppen

Harper

 

Come to mind

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#10 Hosken Bombo Disco

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Posted 01 January 2020 - 10:46 PM

I will like the signings with one more upside play. If we could sign one of Walker or Wood. With more lottery tickets you increase the odds of hitting on one. We have 4 starter prospects who can either start or are good fill ins for a start or two. We also have several others on the way up so we have lots of opportunities for a starter to step up and be a number 2/3 starter.
Rotation
Berrios
Odorizzi
Pineda replacement for 6 weeks
Homer Bailey
The 4 who can step in
Graterol
Smeltzer
Thorpe
Dobnak
Several others should be ready at various points throughout the season as well
Jax
Poppen
Wells
Alcala
It will be interesting to see how this plays out. Though again I would be happier with a Wood or Walker signing to top this off.

I am glad you mentioned Poppen and Wells. Throw in Ober but probably not until next year. They are playing the numbers game with MLB-ready pitching and one or two of them are bound to work out well.

However I still would rather bundle up all that salary committed to Hill/Bailey/Pineda and sign someone really solid. (Or past tense would have signed, since it’s not going to happen at this point)
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#11 Hosken Bombo Disco

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Posted 01 January 2020 - 10:47 PM

Someone will have to come off the 40-man once the Bailey and Hill signings are official...so who's your guess?
 
Wisler
Poppen
Harper
 
Come to mind

Poppen’s pitches really move, and he gets mid 90s on his heater. Not him!
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#12 Dantes929

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Posted 01 January 2020 - 11:22 PM

Say what you will about Perez. He gave us a very good April and May which helped us get off to a great start and provide some cushion for the later months. I have wanted the 5th spot to go internally to Dobnak and Graterol all along so if Bailey can give us a couple good months early while Pineda is on the shelf and then we get Hill and Pineda we should be in decent shape.Things rarely go according to plan. Maybe Dobnak and Graterol compete for ROY, Bailey and HIll have great seasons and Berrios and Odo tank.For now I am happy we got a little depth.

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#13 Channing1964

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Posted 02 January 2020 - 01:44 AM

Doing something, as opposed to virtually nothing is hardly a cause to get excited. Keuchel, and Gonzalez would have been better. I have seen a lot of Hill in recent years being a resident of theAz. At times Hill has surprising looked like LA's most consistent starter, better than Kershaw, Ryu, and Buehler. Whether he can sustain that remains to be seen. Bailey, as a highly touted Red's prospect has never lived up to the initial predictions. He is now though, without doubt a very good option as a #4-5 rotation piece. The two acquisitions definitely are an upgrade over any combination of Dobnak, Thorpe, Smeltzer, Littell, Graterol or Alcala. My problem as always is with the FO. This move was nothing more than a b.s. cover up to make YOU....Twins Fan forget about how they LIED about having an unlimited budget and recognizing an OBVIOUS need for impact pitching. I think i get it now. Adding Bailey and Hill signifies Impact Pitching. Impacting our loss total to rise from 61-81. just saying. Thanks for not lying to us Derek. You are absolutely right. Nobody ever asked you if the impact pitching you were gonna spend Jimmy's money on would make us better or worse. ciao
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#14 tarheeltwinsfan

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Posted 02 January 2020 - 05:59 AM

 

Am I wrong to be concerned about a pitcher whose name is David Dewitt Bailey, Jr., but whose nickname is "Homer"?

 

 

 

 

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#15 spycake

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Posted 02 January 2020 - 06:53 AM

Someone will have to come off the 40-man once the Bailey and Hill signings are official.


No, Pineda is on the ineligible list until his suspension ends. So we can be at 41 counting him, Bailey, and Hill -- no need to remove anyone yet.
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#16 dbminn

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Posted 02 January 2020 - 07:00 AM

"He's likely to be an upgrade over Perez, but right now, that isn't the guy he's replacing. It's Kyle Gibson, who signed with Texas for $30 million early in the offseason... It's Gibson's spot the Twins should now be seeking to upgrade, and hopefully in a very significant way."

 

Nick nails it. Signing Bailey was a good move considering price and availability. Now they need to trade for a SP at the level of Odo or Berrios. Jon Gray makes the most sense. The Rockies are going nowhere and have a lousy farm system. The Twins have the prospects. Two months to get it done.

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#17 Cody Pirkl

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Posted 02 January 2020 - 07:15 AM

I don't think Bailey is the next Martin Perez in the sense of starting the year on fire and then being downright not deserving of taking the mound every 5th day. Bailey seems to have a higher floor and showed last year that he can at least be somewhat effective across an entire season. 

 

Bailey seems to be more of a Gibson replacement than Perez replacement. Pretty similar career numbers and I think he could be a good number 4 pitcher.

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#18 Riverbrian

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Posted 02 January 2020 - 07:17 AM

If he becomes the next Perez... He can't be allowed to remain in the rotation as long as the old Perez was allowed to. 

 

Signing a free agent who doesn't perform is a mistake any front office can and will make. 

 

Doubling down on that mistake by continuing to play that mistake is something every front office can avoid. 

 

 

 

 

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#19 Doctor Wu

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Posted 02 January 2020 - 07:45 AM

Good article! After an initial loud groan upon reading about the signings of Bailey and Hill a few days ago, I'm now .... well, not excited, but at least optimistic that Bailey can be a good or very good starter in our rotation. Reading more about his stats last year leads me to believe that he might finally be ready to fulfill the promise he had all those years ago when he first came up with the Reds. Okay, he's not the ace we've been hoping for these past few months, but I do feel like he'll be much better than Perez was last year, and might even look as impressive as Odorizzi was. Or at least that's my hope at this point. Meanwhile, I still hold out hope for a trade to acquire another arm.

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#20 Tomj14

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Posted 02 January 2020 - 08:39 AM

 

If he becomes the next Perez... He can't be allowed to remain in the rotation as long as the old Perez was allowed to. 

 

Signing a free agent who doesn't perform is a mistake any front office can and will make. 

 

Doubling down on that mistake by continuing to play that mistake is something every front office can avoid. 

At 7 million, it seems like a good bet they will him out there until he is hurt, even if he is a terrible as Perez became.




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