COMMENTARY | The idea of the Cincinnati Reds trading starting pitcher Homer Bailey to the Texas Rangers may be a wild one, but it's not beyond the realm of possibility despite the success that Bailey had in 2013 (3.49 ERA, 1.12 WHIP and 199 Ks in 209 Innings).
But that trade is already out there as a wild idea that might just be best for both teams.
Free Agency Looming
If Bailey is not traded, 2014 will be his last with the Reds. Bailey has never seemed overly interested in specifically pitching for the Reds or Reds Country, and no indication has ever emerged that either side is really all that interested in pursuing a contract extension.
Going into his final year of salary-arbitration eligibility, Bailey will command upwards of $9 million for 2014. While the Reds would land a first-round draft pick after Bailey's rejection of the Reds' free-agency qualifying offer in 2015, why wait for that first-rounder if the Reds can fetch needed players for 2014 by dealing Bailey now?
The downside of trading Bailey now for the Reds is that a vital piece of the team's stellar starting rotation would be gone. Reds Country has been waiting for a seeming eternity for the heralded Bailey to finally arrive as a dominant ace-caliber pitcher. That arrival now seems imminent.
The upside of trading Bailey now would be that Johnny Cueto, Mat Latos and Mike Leake would be joined by Tony Cingrani and Aroldis Chapman in the rotation. That will make Reds Country quickly forget all about the perennial-prospect Bailey and his two no-hitters, especially if the Reds can reap the kind of harvest 2013 yielded when the team traded for Shin-Soo Choo.
Jurickson Profar and Leonys Martin
The 20-year-old middle infielder from Curacao -- Jurickson Profar -- is a .231 hitter in 303 major-league at-bats and doesn't appear destined to be a great big-league hitter. The Rangers might be discovering that the market for Profar was actually better before he saw the amount of playing time he did for the Rangers in 2013.
Still, the market for Profar will be ripe during the Hot Stove season. The Rangers have no available position for Profar to play. Offers will come, but the king's ransom the Rangers might have thought Profar would command is more likely to be considerably less to the extent that a straight trade of Profar for Bailey would be a bad deal for the Reds, especially when considering that Profar would not even start for the Reds.
The parallel between the Reds' trade with the Cleveland Indians for Choo in 2013 and a possible trade of Bailey with the Rangers should be noted for the flip of positions that the Reds would be taking. In 2013, the Reds were the acquirer of the star (Choo) and the seller of lesser pieces (center fielder Drew Stubbs and shortstop Didi Gregorius). In 2014, the Reds would be selling the star (Bailey) for a pair of lesser pieces in CF Martin and SS Profar.
The value of Profar for the Reds is the need he will fill in 2014 for backup middle infielder and the push he would provide for starting SS Zack Cozart and 2B Brandon Phillips to keep playing at a high level in the field and at the plate. Profar would also give the Reds a future middle-infield starter, which is a commodity not readily apparent in their farm system.
Martin would be an opening-day starter for the Reds, which would allow speedster phenom Billy Hamilton to season a little more for a couple months at Triple-A if the Reds are absolutely dead-set against Hamilton starting in center from the start of the season. Either way, Martin would give the Reds what they need -- a starting CF who has leadoff potential and is a much better player than the likes of either Derrick Robinson or Chris Heisey.
The Reds could also offer either Heisey or Robinson to sweeten the deal or offer any of their minor-league outfielders with the exception of Phillip Ervin, Donald Lutz and Yorman Rodriguez.
Robb Hoff has worked as a freelance researcher for ESPN's production and news departments for the past five years. You can read his articles about the 2012 Reds' season here.
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