Homer Bailey

Why A's won't bring pitcher Homer Bailey back for 2020 MLB season

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Why A's won't bring pitcher Homer Bailey back for 2020 MLB season

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.

[RELATED: A's arbitration projections could lead to tough decisions]

Final verdict

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.

A's vs. Royals lineups: Seth Brown to make his MLB debut in left field

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A's vs. Royals lineups: Seth Brown to make his MLB debut in left field

After spending nearly five full seasons in the minors, Seth Brown will finally make his major-league debut Monday night in Kansas City.

The A's selected Brown's contract from Triple-A Las Vegas earlier Monday. The 27-year-old slashed .297/.352/.634 with 37 home runs and 104 RBI in 112 games for the Aviators. He will play left field and bat sixth.

Meanwhile, Khris Davis returns to the Oakland lineup after getting Sunday off. Davis is mired in a career-long slump, batting just .215 for the season with 18 home runs and 55 RBI. He will hit seventh.

Veteran right-hander Homer Bailey will get the start for the A's against his old team. The 33-year-old began the season with Kansas City before being traded to Oakland last month. The Royals will be the 29th team Bailey has faced in his 13-year career.

In 25 starts this season, Bailey is 11-8 with a 5.06 ERA and 1.39 WHIP. His last two outings have been superb, as he allowed just one run in 12 2/3 innings against the Giants and Yankees, with 15 strikeouts.

The Royals will counter with right-hander Brad Keller. The 24-year-old is 7-13 with a 3.95 ERA and 1.33 WHIP in 27 starts this year. He has faced the A's once in his career, allowing two runs on five hits in 5 1/3 innings in a no-decision last season.

Here are the full lineups for the A's-Royals game, which will be broadcast on NBC Sports California and the MyTeams app. Coverage begins at 4:30 p.m. PT, with first pitch at 5:15.

Oakland A's (74-55)
Marcus Semien, SS
Robbie Grossman, RF
Matt Chapman, 3B
Matt Olson, 1B
Mark Canha, CF
Seth Brown, LF
Khris Davis, DH
Jurickson Profar, 2B
Josh Phegley, C

Homer Bailey, RHP (11-8, 5.06 ERA)

Kansas City Royals (46-85)
Whit Merrifield, 2B
Jorge Soler, DH
Hunter Dozier, 3B
Alex Gordon, LF
Ryan O'Hearn, 1B
Meibrys Viloria, C
Bubba Starling, RF
Brett Phillips, CF
Nicky Lopez, SS

Brad Keller, RHP (7-13, 3.95 ERA)

A's Homer Bailey relies on splitter in shutting down mighty Yankees

A's Homer Bailey relies on splitter in shutting down mighty Yankees

OAKLAND -- When Homer Bailey dominated the Giants his last time out, it was certainly impressive, but it came with the caveat of facing a weak lineup. There was no such caveat Tuesday night.

Bailey shut down the league-leading New York Yankees for 5 2/3 innings, allowing just one run with eight strikeouts, as the A's took the series opener, 6-2. Most notably, seven of Bailey's eight strikeouts came on his splitter.

"I thought he was great," said A's manager Bob Melvin. "He had a really good split again tonight. It keeps you off balance. He can go up top with his heater and the breaking ball is just enough. It was another night where he had a really good split. It pairs off his fastball really well."

Bailey, 33, utilized the split early and often, throwing it on 32 of his 108 pitches. The right-hander made the powerful Bronx Bombers look silly, chasing pitches well out of the zone.

"It was (working well)," Bailey said. "I think just kind of understanding how I need to throw it -- the pressure points and the speeds -- it's just something that's been working really well for me and it's complemented by the other pitches."

Bailey's splitter was effective his last start against the Giants as well, resulting in three strikeouts, two groundouts, and a flyout, without a single hit.

"It looks pretty nasty," said A's first baseman Matt Olson, who went 2-for-3 with his 26th home run of the season. "The guys I've talked to say it's pretty good. It looks like a true tumble splitter, which is definitely a tough pitch to hit. Not many people have the true split. He was obviously on tonight."

When Bailey's splitter is on, it also makes his other pitches more effective. He fooled several Yankees hitters with his fastball because it comes out of the same arm slot as the split.

Said Melvin: "It allows him to pitch up and down. He can elevate with his fastball and the split kind of comes out of the same plane. Then he can throw his slider and sinker and kind of go side to side just enough. When he's throwing strikes and getting ahead and he has that pitch, as we've seen since he's been here, he can be a tough customer."

[RELATED: Melvin, A's unafraid to use rookie pitcher Puk in big spot]

The A's have now won five of Bailey's seven starts since acquiring him from the Reds. His last two outings were probably his best and should go a long way toward keeping him in the starting rotation for the rest of the season.