Reports surfaced on Monday that the two sides were nearing an extension, and now according to Sheldon, the Reds have tied up Bailey for another six seasons in Cincinnati, avoiding arbitration and also preventing Bailey from hitting the free agent market next winter. The agreement includes a mutual option for the seventh year, which is worth $25 million and comes with a $5 million buyout.
Bailey has spent seven seasons with the Reds, debuting with the club in 2007 after they drafted him in the first round of the 2004 MLB Draft. The 27-year-old has improved mightily in the last two seasons, as Bailey posted a 3.49 ERA in 2013 after finishing with a 3.68 mark the year prior. The right-hander reached the 200-inning plateau for the first time in 2012 and was durable again last season, pitching 209 innings, while striking out almost four times as many batters as he walked.
Although Bailey hasn't yet put together a dominant season, the durability he has shown and the improvements he has made in the past two years made him a far safer option for the Reds to sign on a long-term deal. If Bailey had put together another strong campaign in 2015 and then hit the open market, he would have likely garnered more money than the $105 million that the Reds now owe him.
With Bailey now signed, the Reds have their top three starters under contract for the 2014 season. Right-hander Jonny Cueto is under team control through 2015, while Mat Latos will stick around for at least one more season after that. The uncertainty surrounding Latos' future makes Bailey's new extension with the Reds even more important, as the club has now locked up one of their best starters on a long-term basis.
With Bailey, Cueto, and Latos in their rotation, along with Mike Leake and Tony Cingrani holding down the back-end, the Reds figure to have one of the best rotations in the NL this season. Adding Bailey on a long-term deal only helps the future outlook of Cincinnati's rotation in the process.