Reds drop Homer Bailey from rotation

CINCINNATI -- The Reds have dropped Homer Bailey from the rotation, leaving their highest-paid pitcher with no role for the rest of a disappointing season.

Bailey is 1-14 with a 6.09 ERA and has lost nine straight decisions. The Reds are 1-19 in his starts this season, his fourth in a row that's been interrupted by injury. The Reds considered moving him to the bullpen earlier this season, but Bailey doesn't think he's capable of pitching in relief.

Manager Jim Riggleman said Friday that rookie Tyler Mahle will take Bailey's place in the rotation. Bailey will continue throwing in the bullpen and stay ready in case he's needed for a start.

The Reds considered moving Bailey to the bullpen, but the right-hander doesn't think he's capable of pitching in relief.

"It's not so much he's not willing to do it, but he just feels very strongly that the preparation he feels like he has to do means he will not be able to help the ballclub out of the bullpen,'' Riggleman said. "That kind of transition is something he'd have to prepare for in the offseason.''

Bailey has one more season left -- for $23 million -- on a six-year, $105 million deal.

The 32-year-old pitcher has been limited to 46 starts in the last four seasons, going 9-27 with a 6.25 ERA. There's an option for 2020 with a $5 million buyout, so the Reds are committed to paying him $28 million next year even though he currently has no role.

He's the second-highest-paid player on a team with a $100.4 million payroll. Joey Votto makes $25 million each year through 2023.

Bailey plans to work on his fastball, which was his dominant pitch when he threw a pair of no-hitters in 2012 and 2013 that led to his big contract.

"Idle minds can be a dangerous thing," Bailey said when asked if it will be difficult to go through September without getting into a game. "I've had a lot of practice over the last few years.''

He had surgery to repair a torn tendon in his right forearm in 2014 and had Tommy John surgery the following year. Bailey had a bone spur removed from the elbow in 2017. He missed roughly two months this season with a sore right knee.