Reds discussing contract extension with Homer Bailey

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Reds general manager Walt Jocketty admitted earlier this month that it will be “difficult” to keep Homer Bailey, but he still hasn’t given up hope of the possibility.

Bailey, who is entering his final year of arbitration, asked for $11.6 million and was offered $8.7 million when arbitration figures were exchanged yesterday. While a panel of arbitrators could decide on his 2014 salary if the two sides can’t make progress before next month, Jocketty told Mark Sheldon of MLB.com that he’s focused on getting a multi-year deal done.

“In Bailey’s case, we were working on a multi-year [deal],” Jocketty said. “The agent [Casey Close] has [Clayton] Kershaw and he has [Masahiro] Tanaka also, so he’s been tied up with that. We just didn’t anticipate getting it done, but we exchanged numbers in the event and we will continue to negotiate and hopefully get something done before the hearing date.

“I am optimistic,” Jocketty said. “I just think it depends on where they feel the market settles in on free-agent pitchers. Hopefully, we’re not too far with our estimate and with their estimate about the market going forward. What it will be based on is what market for a guy like Bailey will be in the future.”

Bailey turns 28 in May and owns a 3.58 ERA in 65 starts over the past two seasons, so he could be looking at a $100 million deal in free agency if he remains healthy and effective in 2014. The Reds will have to make a very generous offer for him to pass up on a chance to test the open market.

Max Scherzer reaches 300 strikeouts on the season

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Nationals ace Max Scherzer struck out his 300th batter of the season on Tuesday night against the Marlins. Austin Dean was the victim, swinging and missing at a 3-2 curve for the second out in the seventh inning.

Scherzer’s 2018 is the seventh 300-strikeout season since 2000. The others: Chris Sale (308; 2017 Red Sox), Clayton Kershaw (301; 2015 Dodgers), Randy Johnson (334; 2002 Diamondbacks), Curt Schilling (316; 2002 Diamondbacks), Randy Johnson (372; 2001 Diamondbacks), Randy Johnson (347; 2000 Diamondbacks). It’s the 67th 300-strikeout season dating back to 1883.

At the conclusion of the seventh, Scherzer had held the Marlins to a run on four hits with no walks and 10 strikeouts. He entered the start 17-7 with a 2.57 ERA across 213 2/3 innings. Jacob deGrom will almost certainly win the NL Cy Young Award, but Scherzer’s 2018 has been outstanding.