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2014 in Review: Homer Bailey

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What do you get the man who has everything? A working arm.

pitchface.
pitchface.
David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

I often wonder; what does a guy like Homer Bailey do with $105 million? He famously doesn't own a suit, and in fact the only picture I can find of him in even a button-down shirt is from the day he was drafted. Hunting bows only cost so much, you can only go on so many safaris, and you can only wear two boots at a time. What else is there?

Which is all to say, I have no idea how Homer is going to age or what he's going to look like as a pitcher at the end of his contract. He's got five years left and will be expected to pitch, oh, a thousand innings of very good baseball in those years. No pressure, guy.

His 2014 was in one major way not great. The guy I called Old Hoss in 2008 has had arm issues before, and having his season cut 10 starts short is very, very, not good. He oughta be ready by Spring Training and will be spending his offseason rehabbing (to which, the game animals of Texas all breathe a sigh of relief), but "5 years remaining on his contract" really ought to be as far away from "recovering from arm surgery" as possible.

On the other hand, his 2014 was typical Hossian. ~8K, ~3BB, ~1HR every nine innings has been kind of his thing since 2010, even though fewer curveballs and more splitters has led to a higher ground ball rate in the past couple years. He came into the league wanting to embarrass every batter with high heat and a foolmaker curve, but when that didn't work out he and Bryan Price decided to start chucking bowling balls on the black at 89-96mph. It has treated him well, and given me two actual odes to write about him.

The leaguewide rise in strikeouts and drop in walks makes his numbers look more mediocre than good if they stay at his ~2010 rates, but it seems a lot to ask a guy to both take a step forward and also recover entirely from arm issues. He only had one truly bad start from June onwards (one of those annoying wind-blowing-out days at Wrigley) and I have no doubt that he's very good and very reliable when healthy. The trick is, he's gotta stay healthy. For the next five years.

Homer, alongside Votto, Bruce, Cueto, and Cingrani, make up the five players I have as much feelings as opinions about. I really want them to succeed as well as look at numbers and think that they'll succeed. I love watching people swing 4 inches above his splitter on a 1-2 count, and I hope next year is finally the year that I get to see it happen 200 times. In between desire and analysis is hope, which is where I'll sit while watching Old Hoss.