As discussed a couple times recently, top would-be free agent starting pitchers signing extensions before reaching free agency after this season is probably not a good thing for the Cubs, what with their bounty of positional prospects set to (hopefully) break through in the near-term, but a relative dearth of big-league ready, top-of-the-rotation arms.
You can add Homer Bailey to the list of pitchers the Cubs definitely won’t be pursuing after this season, as Mark Sheldon reports that Bailey and the Reds have agreed to terms on a six-year, $105 million extension. There’s a mutual, $25 million option year tacked on to the end, with a $5 million buyout. The deal hasn’t been announced yet, but it’s been forecast for days now.
As for the contract, it’s really not all that outlandish for a guy who isn’t quite yet 28, has been getting better every year, sports fantastic peripherals, and is coming off of his best season (3.7 WAR, 3.31 FIP, 3.69 K/BB). On the one hand, that’s bad news for the Cubs, as a non-crippling deal for the Reds only helps them down the line. On the other hand, at least the deal doesn’t set an unconscionable precedent for a Jeff Samardzija extension, to the extent the Cubs are holding out hope they can make one happen. Bailey is a year younger than Samardzija, has comparable peripherals, and has put it together a little bit better/more consistently, in terms of actual production. He’s getting an AAV of $17.5 with only one arbitration year in there (he was going to get about $10 million for that year). Take out the arb year, and he’s getting $19 million per year for the five free agent years bought out.
Even if you valued Bailey and Samardzija – who has two arbitration years left – as identical pitchers, on a five-year extension, the Cubs would be looking at something like this for Samardzija:
2014 – $5.345 million
2015 – $8 million
2016 – $19 million
2017 – $19 million
2018 – $19 million
Or $70.345 million over five years, however you want to play with the numbers in the individual years. All things considered, that’s not a terrible deal for the Cubs, and that’s if you value you Samardzija and Bailey identically (which is probably being generous to Samardzija). Seems like the final figure, if over five years, should actually be a little bit lower if both sides are interested in coming to the most reasonable deal.