The injury bug continues to wreak havoc on pitchers around the league, now visiting Reds starting pitcher, Homer Bailey.
After receiving surgery last September on a torn flexor mass tendon near his pitching elbow, Bailey, 28, had been rehabbing smoothly, and, indeed, had already made two starts this season. The results weren’t fantastic (5.56 ERA over 11.1 IP), but Bailey was reportedly healthy and ready to go.
Unfortunately for Bailey and the Reds, that is no longer the case. Following an MRI, the righty was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a right elbow ligament sprain.
While the DL stint is technically retroactive to last Friday (April 24), it doesn’t sound like Bailey will be back anytime soon, at least according to Reds manager, Bryan Price: “He certainly won’t be pitching here in the near future.”
Losing Bailey for any significant period of time will surely be devastating to a Cincinnati Reds (9-10) team that hoped to stretch their window of contention at least one more year. At this point, maybe it’s the next four years that the Reds should be focused on; Bailey is in the second year of a six-year, $105 million contract. His injury should serve as reminder that any big contract signing/extension comes with risks, even one for a prime aged pitcher coming off two straight seasons of 200+ innings pitched.
Just like with Adam Wainwright and Jonathan Lucroy before him, we (as Cub fans) should never be happy about a player injury just because they play for a division rival, but it’s easy to see how this may benefit the Cubs (by means of weakening the Central). The Cubs are scheduled to face the Reds 12 more times before the season is over, with the next series being a four game set June 11-14. Even if some of the misfortune within the Central aids the Cubs in 2015, there’s not too much reason for cognitive dissonance. After all, it’s not like the Cubs are without injuries of their own (Mike Olt, Tommy La Stella, Chris Denorfia, Justin Grimm, Neil Ramirez, Tsuyoshi Wada, Jacob Turner).
There is no timetable yet for Bailey’s return, so it’s hard to see just how deep of an impact this will ultimately have. Over the last three years, Bailey’s best, the righty has been worth 8.4 WAR while maintaining a 3.61 ERA. Things were already looking dire for the Reds in 2015, and this could be the proverbial straw.