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Reds make progress on long-term deal with Bailey

Team hoping to avoid arbitration hearing slated for Thursday in Florida

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- The completion of a multi-year contract between the Reds and starting pitcher Homer Bailey remained close Tuesday.

"We've made progress," Reds general manager Walt Jocketty said. "There are still some outstanding issues. Hopefully they get resolved in the next 24 hours or else people are going to have to suit it up and go east."

Bailey's arbitration hearing is scheduled for Thursday in Florida and the pitcher would have to leave Arizona sometime Wednesday to be there with his agents at Excel Sports Management.

Jocketty declined to specifically identify the remaining differences in the talks.

"It's a lot of little things," he said. "The structure of the contract, how it's paid and things like that."

The exact terms of the potential deal remain unknown, although the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported Sunday that it could be for six years and around $100 million.

Even though talks have extended throughout the offseason, Bailey has shown a willingness to commit to the club long term.

"We like, whenever possible, to retain our own players -- guys we draft and developed and certainly have excelled in this organization," Jocketty said. "One of the things we try to do is reward them and keep them part of the organization. Unfortunately, we're not able to keep everybody."

Bailey, who avoided arbitration last year by signing a one-year, $5.35 million contract, can become a free agent after this season. For this year's arbitration filing, he asked for $11.6 million while the Reds had countered at $8.7 million.

Jocketty is not attending the hearing and assistant GM Bob Miller would be representing the club.

"I never go to the hearing. I've always stayed out of the hearings," said Jocketty, who has yet to have a player go to arbitration since he joined the Reds in 2008. When he was the Cardinals' GM, that team's last hearing in his regime was against pitcher Darren Oliver in 1999.

The Reds have not had a hearing against one of their players since 2004 with reliever Chris Reitsma. They came very close to a hearing last year with first-year arbitration-eligible pitcher Mat Latos before he signed a two-year, $11.5 million contract. Unlike this year with Bailey, that hearing was scheduled in Phoenix.

"We got a contract done as they were entering the hearing room," Jocketty said. "That one I was overlooking the lobby floor. They were getting ready to go into the room. Bob was down there and we were communicating back and forth."

In 32 starts last season, the 27-year-old Bailey was 11-12 but achieved career bests with a 3.49 ERA, 209 innings and 199 strikeouts. Over the last three seasons, Bailey is 33-29 with a 3.79 ERA and threw a no-hitter in both 2012 and '13.

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for Read his blog, Mark My Word, and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon.

Cincinnati Reds, Homer Bailey