Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Homer Bailey agreed to a six-year, $105 million contract on Wednesday, acc0rding to multiple reports.
Bailey avoids arbitration and will help the Reds with their cash flow by deferring some of the salary for short periods. The deal includes a $25 million mutual option for 2020 with a $5 million buyout.
Bailey was the final major league player left in arbitration this year and reached the agreement a day before his scheduled hearing in Florida. The right-hander made $5.35 million last season and had asked for $11.6 million in arbitration. The Reds had offered $8.7 million, their biggest gap among their players in arbitration.
Bailey is coming off a season that included his second no-hitter. The 27-year-old gets salaries of $9 million this year, $10 million in 2015, $18 million in 2016, $19 million in 2017, $21 million in 2018 and $23 million in 2019.
In an unusual twist, much of the annual salary will be deferred until the November after each season. Bailey will be paid in-season amounts of $3 million this year, $4 million next year, $11 million in 2016, $12 million in 2017, $14 million in 2018 and $15 million in 2019.
If Bailey is traded, his new team would have to pay all of the salary amounts during the season. Also, the $5 million buyout would be paid when either side decides not to exercise the option rather than having it deferred until November 2020.
The Reds planned to discuss the deal on Thursday. Bailey declined to comment on the agreement after a workout on Wednesday.
Teams won two of three cases that went to hearings, with the Cleveland Indians beating pitchers Vinnie Pestano and Josh Tomlin, and pitcher Andrew Cashner winning his case with the San Diego Padres. Owners have a 293-215 margin since arbitration began in 1974.
Bailey went a career-best 13-10 with a 3.68 ERA in 2012, completing his breakthrough season by throwing a no-hitter in Pittsburgh on Sept. 28. The 27-year-old Texan followed that with the 16th no-hitter in franchise history last June, a 3-0 win over the San Francisco Giants at Great American Ball Park.
Bailey went 11-12 with a 3.49 ERA last year, leaving him in line for a big salary increase in arbitration or a long-term deal. The Reds’ rotation includes five players under the age of 30 — Johnny Cueto (28), Mat Latos (26), Bailey (27), Mike Leake (26) and left-hander Tony Cingrani (24).