The Cincinnati Reds officially activated Homer Bailey on Thursday, meaning the reports of his 2016 return to the rotation on Sunday weren't just some awful joke in the middle of a forlorn season.
Homer Bailey reinstated from 60-day DL. Caleb Cotham transferred to 60-day DL. Bailey replaces, Kyle Waldrop, optioned to Lou yesterday.— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) July 28, 2016
Homer will take the mound on Sunday against the San Diego Padres in what will just his third start in almost two full years. His 2014 season ended after an August 7th start against the Cleveland Indians, after which he had surgery to repair the flexor mass tendon in his right arm. That delayed his 2015 debut until late April, at which point he made back to back iffy 5.2 IP starts before again feeling soreness in that talented throwing arm.
Then, of course, he had Tommy John surgery, and the de facto ace of the rebuilding Reds has been more or less sidelined ever since.
No, his rehab starts haven't exactly sparkled so far this year. He's just 1-3 with a 5.14 ERA and 1.71 WHIP in 8 starts between AA Pensacola and AAA Louisville, but polish isn't exactly what we're all looking for at this point. Much like the Reds themselves, Bailey needs to use the remainder of the lost 2016 season to rebuild both his command and his confidence, and that's what he'll look to do beginning Sunday. For the Reds, he'll also be a shoulder to lean on (literally) as he'll be able to soak up some late season innings that the young arms in the rotation may not be able to handle.
Homer's got 3 years and $63 million left on the gargantuan contract extension he signed a few years back, with a $25 million team option for 2020 that includes a $5 million buyout. With that kind of massive commitment still on the books for the Reds, it's easy to assume they'll be patient with Ol' Hoss for the rest of the season, but if he's healthy and back to throwing 95 mph repeatedly, a solid few months to wrap the year could do wonders for his overall trade value. And, ultimately, that's something the rebuilding Reds would consider a dream scenario.
Welcome back, Homer, and just try not to fuckin' walk too many guys.