According to Reds.com's Mark Sheldon, the Cincinnati Reds and P Homer Bailey have not just avoided arbitration, but have also come to an agreement on a long term contract.
Sheldon says the deal includes a mutual option for a 7th year at $25 million that features a $5 million buyout, which would effectively guarantee Bailey $110 million over his 6 years with a chance to make it a 7 year, $130 million agreement.
Needless to say, this is the largest contract ever given to a pitcher in Reds history, and it's the single most defining move made by Walt Jocketty and the Reds ownership this offseason. Bailey, 27, was entering his last season under team control, and he was scheduled for a Thursday arbitration hearing in Florida to settle the $3.1 million difference between what he'd hoped to make in 2014 and what the Reds had offered. This, of course, renders that unnecessary. Bailey, the Reds 1st round pick in the 2004 draft (7th pick overall), now has a chance to be with the Reds through his age 34 season.
This will buy out Homer's final year of arbitration along with at least five free agent years. The Reds have yet to confirm the signing, so stay tuned for details.
UPDATE: Sheldon had a chance to speak with Walt Jocketty, and apparently the deal isn't quite finalized despite both sides being essentially in agreement.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Jocketty on Bailey contract: "There are still some outstanding issues." <a href="http://t.co/Yo5DmAfjRt">http://t.co/Yo5DmAfjRt</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/search?q=%23reds&src=hash">#reds</a></p>— Mark Sheldon (@m_sheldon) <a href="https://twitter.com/m_sheldon/statuses/435848363079397376">February 18, 2014</a></blockquote>
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Updated Update: Joe Kay of the Associated Press has some additional details on Bailey's contract, which has reportedly been signed and submitted to both MLB and the MLBPA for approval. Bailey's base salary will be $9 million in 2014, $10 million in 2015, $18 million in 2016, $19 million in 2017, $21 million in 2018, and $23 million in 2019.
Much of that will be heavily deferred, however. Kay reports that Bailey will actually make base salaries of $3 million in 2014, $4 million in 2015, $11 million in 2016, $12 million in 2017, $14 million in 2018, and $15 million in 2019. The deferred money will be paid in the November after each season, and if Bailey were to be traded, his new team would have to pay the full salary during the season.