Homer Bailey: Baker Critics Can 'Shut Up'
The subject of Baker's young-pitcher-management in Cincinnati is a popular topic for debate. FanHouse has tackled it twice in the last 12 months, once looking at his usage of Edinson Volquez shortly following Volquez's Tommy John surgery last year and a bigger-picture look this spring after the signing of Aroldis Chapman. On one hand, it's certainly hard to ignore the number of arm injuries that have happened on Baker's watch, but on the other, he can't be responsible for every single injury that's ever occurred while he's managed.
Of course, that conclusion doesn't address whether or not it's his fault Bailey is hurt. On one hand, Bailey did cross the 100-pitch barrier in each of his first five starts in 2010, three times going over 110 and once over 120. On the other hand, Bailey knows his arm and if he felt OK with that workload maybe we should trust him. It is worth noting that Bailey is coming off of a huge inning increase in 2009, his workload was upped by almost 60 innings and that sort of inning increase is usually tough on young pitchers.
Perhaps the most important thing to watch will be how Baker handles Bailey when he returns to the Reds, assuming this shoulder injury isn't serious. Bailey's young (he just turned 24 at the beginning of May), coming off of that huge work increase last year and now has to deal with these shoulder problems. That means the Reds should have every reason in the world to be careful with the righty and watch his inning and pitch counts. They may also find themselves in the playoff race, which would give Baker ample opportunity to do the opposite of that. That will certainly be something worth monitoring.