GOODYEAR, Ariz. (AP) — Reds starter Homer Bailey said he was “really close” to getting a multiyear deal completed on Monday with several days left before a scheduled arbitration hearing.
Bailey is the last Reds player left in arbitration. He has a hearing scheduled for Thursday in Florida. He and the Reds have been working on a deal during the offseason.
He wouldn’t confirm reports that the sides are negotiating on a six-year deal.
“There’s a lot of things that we have in place,” Bailey said before the team’s workout on Monday morning. “I feel the majority of it’s fairly worked out, except for some of the details and stuff like that. But we’re really close.”
The 27-year-old pitcher made $5,350,000 last season. He asked for $11.6 million in arbitration and the Reds offered $8.7 million, their biggest gap with an arbitration-eligible player.
Bailey was the seventh overall pick in the June 2004 amateur draft. He developed into a dependable starter in the past two years, and pitched a pair of no-hitters along the way, too.
The hard-throwing Texan went a career-best 13-10 with a 3.68 ERA in 2012, completing his breakthrough season by throwing a no-hitter in Pittsburgh on Sept. 28, a 1-0 victory. He threw the 16th no-hitter in franchise history last June 2, a 3-0 win over San Francisco at Great American Ball Park.
Bailey became the third pitcher in Reds history to throw a pair of no-hitters, joining Johnny Vander Meer and Jim Maloney.
Overall, Bailey went 11-12 with a 3.49 ERA with two complete games last season.
Bailey hasn’t bought a plane ticket to Florida for his arbitration hearing and hasn’t bought a suit for it. He expects to have a deal in place before then.
“Hopefully we can get the small stuff worked out in the next few days,” Bailey said. “If not, I’m going to have to go buy a suit.”
With Johnny Cueto, Mat Latos, Mike Leake, left-hander Tony Cingrani and Bailey, the Reds have a rotation that can be kept together for several years. Bronson Arroyo left as a free agent after last season, and Cingrani moves into his spot.
Cincinnati’s rotation finished third in the NL last season with a 3.43 ERA, its best mark since 1974. Overall, the Reds’ pitching finished four in the NL with a 3.38 ERA and led the league with 1,296 strikeouts, a club record.
“You look at that rotation right there, I wouldn’t mind any of those guys being here long term, would you?” manager Bryan Price said. “Five guys between 24 and 28 years old. I’m not scratching my head wondering about any of those guys, if they’re going to be good long term.
“That’s a great group right there. If we had Homer long term, I’d be really excited about that.”
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