Editor's note: Over the next two weeks, we will examine 10 A's players who may or may not return to Oakland next season. For each player, we will provide reasons why the A's should bring him back and reasons why they should not, followed by a final determination.
Homer Bailey, RHP
Contract: Free agent (signed minor-league deal with Royals last offseason)
Reasons to bring him back
Bailey was better than anyone could have possibly hoped for after joining the A's in a midseason trade with Kansas City.
The right-hander went 6-3 with a 4.30 ERA in 13 starts, but that ERA would have been 2.57 without his two disastrous starts at Houston and Chicago. Overall, Bailey went 13-9 with a 4.57 ERA.
The 33-year-old was especially good down the stretch for Oakland, going 4-1 with a 2.25 ERA in his final eight starts. That's right around the time Bailey rediscovered his excellent split-finger fastball, which devastated hitters across the league. He notched 48 strikeouts in his final 48 innings, the vast majority on that splitter.
Bailey proved more than capable of contributing to the A's rotation and a team never can have too much pitching depth.
Reasons to let him go
While Bailey unquestionably helped the A's reach the postseason in 2019, Oakland's starting rotation for 2020 already appears stacked. Jesús Luzardo, Frankie Montas and A.J. Puk will join Sean Manaea and Mike Fiers to form an outstanding starting five, with Chris Bassitt available should anyone go down with an injury.
With all of those young and talented arms, as well as another few on the way, there's probably no room for a veteran like Bailey, unless he's willing to take another cheap contract. That seems unlikely.
Bailey certainly was a pleasant surprise this season for the A's, but it's almost impossible to see him coming back. Oakland has plenty of talented, young arms ready to step into the starting rotation and Bailey likely will cost too much.
The veteran certainly has earned himself a contract somewhere else, however, and he won't have to settle for a minor-league deal this time around.