The KC Royals acquired a proven veteran starting pitcher for 2019, then traded him outside the Central Division in July. Now, he’s back in the Division as a member of its defending champion.
Homer Bailey was hardly a household name in Kansas City when the Royals signed him to supplement their starting rotation for 2019. But he was well-known in Cincinnati, where the Reds awarded his solid pitching with a six-year, $105 million contract that began with the 2014 season. By then, he’d given the Reds seven seasons, 47 wins (24 in the two campaigns immediately preceding the deal) and two no-hitters.
Unfortunately for Bailey and the Reds, injuries followed and Bailey suffered–he went 17-18 the first four seasons after signing his mega-deal, then crashed in 2018 with a catastrophic 1-14 record. The Reds traded him to the Dodgers, where he lasted a day before LA released him.
The Royals’ minimal gamble on Bailey–they signed him for the major league minimum–paid off. Pitching for the bad team that the Royals were, he posted a 7-6 record before the club traded him to Oakland in July; he helped the A’s to the Wild Card with a 6-3 record, including a 1-0 record in two games against KC. He struck out 14 Royals in 11 innings with a .0923 WHIP.
Bailey signed a free agent deal with Minnesota that could, with the signing of former Dodgers’ standout Rich Hill, make the defending Central Division champion Twins even better in 2020. His 13-9 record last season between Kansas City and Oakland suggests Bailey may be back on the beam and could make the Royals regret trading and not resigning him.