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Front Page: Homer Bailey Could be a Solid Upgrade to the Twins Rotation


When the Twins announced the signing of Homer Bailey, I was very frustrated and confused. I wanted Wheeler or Ryu and instead saw Homer Bailey, so can you blame me? After my frustration died down I looked a bit more into Bailey and maybe, just maybe, he could be a solid starter.Remember in 2013 when Homer Bailey had a 3.49 ERA, 3.31 FIP, and a 4.1 fWAR that led to the Reds extending him for six years/$105 million? He didn’t exactly live up to that contract, accumulating only 2.8 fWAR until 2019 when he started to get back on track with a 2.9 fWAR. My favorite year was probably 2018 when he went 1-14 with a 6.09 ERA. Anyway, enough with the awful years and time to focus on why I think Bailey could be effective this season.

 

Bailey was likely signed by the Twins because of how he performed after being dealt to Oakland last season. He pitched at least five innings in 11 of his 13 starts after being dealt and also allowed three or fewer earned runs in all 11 of those games. He was very consistent with a 3.65 FIP in Oakland despite one awful start against the (BANG) Houston Astros. Oh sorry, that was me slamming a baseball bat against a garbage can.

 

A lot of the success Bailey saw in 2019 was because of his pitch selection. He increased how often he throws his splitter by 10% to get it to 26.4% in 2019 and it was one of the best pitches in baseball. Batters were hitting just .182 with a .302 SLG and .214 wOBA against him on the splitter. Fangraphs rated his splitter as the second best last year, just a tick behind Yu Darvish. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him reach 30% with the splitter in 2020 with the Twins.

 

The Twins definitely signed Bailey with hopes of him keeping the same level of play he displayed in Oakland. If the Twins can unlock that for a full season then they will suddenly have a great number four starter behind Berrios, Odorizzi, and Pineda with Rich Hill waiting to return. If everything breaks right (that’s a big if), then the Twins could have a really solid rotation. Of course that still doesn’t make up for the Twins failing to land an impact arm on the same level as Berrios or Odorizzi, but we’re making do with what we have right now.

 

One Twins Daily writer who I know, Matthew Braun, my partner on the Leading Off Podcast, is very high on Baily. Here is a video he posted on his Twitter account of Homer Bailey throwing a splitter:

 

I’m interested to see what the fans think of signing Homer Bailey. Do you like the signing? Maybe it’s fine as long as the Twins go trade for someone as good or better than Odorizzi. Personally I don’t mind the signing as much as I instinctively did when I first heard the news, but it’s definitely underwhelming. Comment with your thoughts.

 

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Let's see - the infield for Oakland A's was Chapman, Semian, Pinder and Olson.

Our infield will be Sano, Polanco, Arraez and Surprise.

Oakland ranked #4 and the Twins #26 by traditional fielding stats. 

In the AL mlb.com has Oakland 3 and Minnesota 13.

 

If I am a pitcher this would concern me.  If I am looking for a pitcher to increase or decrease in value this would concern me. Fan graphs has him with 1.3 GB/FB

 

https://www.fangraphs.com/players/homer-bailey/8362/graphs?statArr=48,46&legend=1,2&split=base&time=season&ymin=&ymax=&dStatArray=

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Let's see - the infield for Oakland A's was Chapman, Semian, Pinder and Olson.

Our infield will be Sano, Polanco, Arraez and Surprise.

Oakland ranked #4 and the Twins #26 by traditional fielding stats. 

In the AL mlb.com has Oakland 3 and Minnesota 13.

 

If I am a pitcher this would concern me.  If I am looking for a pitcher to increase or decrease in value this would concern me. Fan graphs has him with 1.3 GB/FB

 

https://www.fangraphs.com/players/homer-bailey/8362/graphs?statArr=48,46&legend=1,2&split=base&time=season&ymin=&ymax=&dStatArray=

This is my biggest fear with Bailey.  I'm with Cooper though...frustrated at first, just ok with it now.  Even if we get "2nd half of 2019 Homer Bailey", I'm in the camp that they still need to make a trade.  

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  If I were a betting man, I don't think there'll be a trade.  Obviously could be wrong, but I think the FO is confident (over confident??) that a couple of Smeltzer, Thorpe, Dobnak, Graterol, etc., can step up this year and fill Pineda's spot until he returns, fill in if there is an injury and fill the 5th spot adequately enough to get them to the trade deadline.  THEN we might see a deal.

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Thinking Bailey is an upgrade over Gibson is sheer fantasy. He’s pretty much the same guy without the occasional upside. He will stabilize the rotation at best. I was never a Gibson fan so I’m fine with the Bailey signing, but let’s realize it’s January and the list of new things to write about is growing thin.

 

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I'm fine with the Bailey signing. I don't feel he is too much of a downgrade over Bumgarner and is in par with Gibson.

 

I feel the Twins were aggressive with Wheeler offering mlbtraderumors predicted 100 million early in the process. I got the sense the Twins would go a little higher AAV for a three year contract for Ryu. Where I will get annoyed is if the Twins won't step up and be willing to overpay a little to get Donaldson. If we don't get a key player over a difference of 10 million over 4 years or less it will be maddening. We are just like the Terry Ryan teams of having a good floor and the next upgrade up is expensive. I wouldn't ask the Twins to pay o erage costs on lots of players but once in a while an overpay that brings a difference maker would be nice.

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I'm okay with Bailey as a value pickup, although I would have preferred Porcello or Gausman.

 

Twins needed a #4/5 veteran SP and Bailey is cheap and relatively low risk. Steamer projects Bailey for 153 IP and a 5 ERA. He'll probably be about as good as Gibson was struggling through e coli and ulcerative colitis last season. 

 

 

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I'm okay with Bailey as a value pickup, although I would have preferred Porcello or Gausman.

 

Twins needed a #4/5 veteran SP and Bailey is cheap and relatively low risk. Steamer projects Bailey for 153 IP and a 5 ERA. He'll probably be about as good as Gibson was struggling through e coli and ulcerative colitis last season. 

Porcello and Gausman were two guys I was on to fill a 4th or 5th spot.  A lot of that was simply trusting Twins to make whichever one they signed better.  I understand the Bailey signing...just don't like that it had to come to this.

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I tend to be a very optimistic person/fan, but I've had a real struggle with this signing. There we guys I liked a lot more who had much better results more recently. Grudgingly, I went back and reflected on career numbers and honestly, I had basically forgotten there was a stretch a few years ago when he was actually really good. (As referenced in the OP). And then I see a bounce back season last year, plus a change in pitch usage, and suddenly I'm a little more hopeful that health and tweaks actually has Bailey back to being a solid contributor again.

 

But to show how smart I am, a couple of the younger, more talented guys I wanted the Twins to sign are Wood and Walker. As of this moment, I believe BOTH are still available and just looking for work/opportunity.

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Good job of bringing out some potential value for Bailey.

 

The reason why everyone wanted Ryu or Wheeler though, is because no one has to be convinced that they’ll bring value.

 

That’s the problem with focusing too much on securing The Floor, rather than focusing on The Ceiling; you might get lucky and the acquisition makes you look really good (like Phil Hughes’ first year with the Twins) or they just play to their historical levels (like every other year the Twins got from Hughes).

 

The Ceiling is more expensive, and brings more risk, but the possible reward can’t be compared.  Homer Bailey at his best is very unlikely to make people ok with the fact that we missed out on Ryu or Wheeler.

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Context is needed when determining whether or not this is a good move.

 

Bringing him in to provide competition/depth for the 5th starter/swing man role is a wonderful move.

 

Bringing him in to be your 3rd starter means your rotation probably stinks (aka, bad move if you have aspirations).

 

Both are happening, sort of. Ideally, he’ll be the 5th starter come July (being Berrios, Odorizzi, Pineda, Hill). But, until Hill and Pineda come back, he’s your #3. Factor in likely injuries along the way, and you’re probably looking at him at the #3-4 all year.

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Context is needed when determining whether or not this is a good move.

Bringing him in to provide competition/depth for the 5th starter/swing man role is a wonderful move.

Bringing him in to be your 3rd starter means your rotation probably stinks (aka, bad move if you have aspirations).

Both are happening, sort of. Ideally, he’ll be the 5th starter come July (being Berrios, Odorizzi, Pineda, Hill). But, until Hill and Pineda come back, he’s your #3. Factor in likely injuries along the way, and you’re probably looking at him at the #3-4 all year.

 

Think Darius is right on target. If he was to be a 2 or 3 it would be very questionable. As a 4 or a 5 getting a vet with low risk and high reward type guy it is fine. Understanding he will be the 3 until Pineda comes back... 

 

Hill coming back sometime during the season is another low risk guy that may provide some more low risk high reward at a time we will likely need. 

 

Of course like the rest I would have liked a higher end guy but they are VERY difficult to land... hopefully we can find a trade partner to get one more guy that is a higher end guy.

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The problem with the Twins adding an impact arm on the same level as a Berrios or Odorizzi as you suggest is, not only was that not done but we were expecting an impact arm on a level better than a Berrios and Odorizzi. So far the off-season has been a failure of epic proportions. You don't make a playoff caliber team better by resigning what you have and adding players that aren't any better than what you lost. At this point the only way this team gets better with the moves they have made thus far is if a Graterol or some other AAA prospect Pitcher steps up and becomes an ACE. Yes, there is time for a big trade to upgrade the rotation. Yes there will be the trading deadline come July31 to make a final move. But those are last resort type moves that a contending team shouldn't have to do if they would have taken care of business in the off-season.

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Having Bailey signed for a year beats having Gibby signed for three. This lineup is gonna mash Donaldson or not. Last year proved it. It's not hard to remain optimistic going forward. The big picture is still bright.  

All that said, the risk aversion still drives me nuts. I sure hope an impact arm can be won come the trade deadline. Fair value (much less an overpay) is apparently anathema.

This FO only sees the forest when felling that sequoia is all that matters.  

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Context is needed when determining whether or not this is a good move.

Bringing him in to provide competition/depth for the 5th starter/swing man role is a wonderful move.

Bringing him in to be your 3rd starter means your rotation probably stinks (aka, bad move if you have aspirations).

Both are happening, sort of. Ideally, he’ll be the 5th starter come July (being Berrios, Odorizzi, Pineda, Hill). But, until Hill and Pineda come back, he’s your #3. Factor in likely injuries along the way, and you’re probably looking at him at the #3-4 all year.

 

*If* Pineda and Hill come back.

Pineda has had 8ish good starts in the past 3 years.

Absolute best case scenario is to get 80 innings out of Hill. And I'd probably take the under on that.

 

As it has been with seemingly every single move this FO makes, I don't hate the Homer Bailey signing. Just not as the only addition to the rotation.

 

This starting staff is one Jose Berrios elbow injury from being one of the worst in baseball.

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Once Wes Johnson gets Bailey to throw his splitter 100% of the time he's going to be truly unstoppable! :) I'm also probably more optimistic than I should be based on his success towards the end of 2019 and part of that is undoubtedly due to the fact that I haven't actually watched Bailey pitch through his struggles. But that splitter does look really good in the clip and the fact that changing his arsenal led to improvement gives me some hope.

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