Homer Bailey remains the Reds' only unsigned player as they begin preparing for their spring run through the Cactus League. However, the two sides are close to agreeing on a multiiyear extension, as John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports.
Bailey said the negotiations, which have been ongoing for much of the offseason, were "going in the right direction."
Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plan Dealer reports that the extension could be a "six-year deal in the $100 million range."
If Bailey and the Reds aren't able to agree on an extension, the 27-year-old righty would likely agree to a one-year deal for 2014 and hit the open market next winter. However, it doesn't appear as though the Reds intend to let that happen. Bailey has been extremely productive over the last two seasons, posting a 3.58 ERA in 417 innings for the Reds with a 1.18 WHIP and a strikeout rate of better than three-to-one.
Cincinnati has some promising young arms coming up through their farm system -- most notably prospect Robert Stephenson and 2013 rookie Tony Cingrani. However, they have a shortage of long-term options at the front of their rotation. Mat Latos, Johnny Cueto, and Mike Leake are set to become free agents in 2016. They might be able to retain those players, but Cincinnati isn't typically a team that makes lucrative bids on marquee free agents. Like most of the league, the Reds are leaning toward locking up their young players during the peak of their production, and they appear to be on the verge of doing the same with Homer Bailey.