Why the Yankees should think twice about acquiring Trevor Bauer

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The Yankees are in need of another quality starting pitcher and, it just so happens, the Indians have one rumored to be on the block.

Trevor Bauer is perhaps the most talented pitcher bandied about on the trade market and he’s controlled through the 2020 season. The Cleveland right-hander was a top Cy Young candidate in 2018 and is just 28 years old, smack dab in his prime.

However, the Yankees should consider Bauer both on and off the field and look elsewhere for upgrades to the rotation.

I know what you’re thinking: Why should the Yankees forgo a potential boost to the rotation? Bauer is clearly that. Even in a down 2019, he still has a 3.69 ERA and has provided tremendous value as someone willing to go deep into games. He’s second to just Justin Verlander in innings pitched and is first in batters faced. Adding Bauer means less burden on your bullpen.

Furthermore, Bauer has one of the foremost minds about the science of pitching. He’s been a force in player development, as detailed in Ben Lindbergh and Travis Sawchik’s book, The MVP Machine. He’s worked in the offseason to develop a strong repertoire and even helped teammates with adjustments. Rotation mates Shane Bieber and Mike Clevinger credit him for some improvements on the mound.

But the reasons to avoid Bauer go beyond the mound; His actions off the field should preclude any trade to the Bronx.

The UCLA product was born with a foot in his mouth and can be charitably described as Very Online. More accurately, he’s been a bully with his Twitter account and veered towards misogynistic and racial comments with his brash personality.

He spent more than a full day straight this offseason harassing a woman on Twitter for no apparent reason. Despite saying he doesn’t vote, Bauer hasn’t been shy about expressing his disdainful political views. Bauer generally tries to hide behind the No. 69 and jokes of that ilk, but he’s proven himself incapable of representing a franchise. It’s not worth detailing all of his public comments, yet he’s had more than enough to warrant a second look.

Bauer can also be a negative in the clubhouse. He once wrote a rap song to bash his former catcher and has been labeled as a bad teammate in the past.

That’s not to say Bauer is the worst person in baseball. He’s not. I’m not going to make a value judgment on who is, but there are people who’ve committed domestic violence and heinous acts of physical violence. The Yankees even employ people with similar political views to Bauer — Baseball as a whole is filled with them — in addition to Aroldis Chapman, who was suspended for domestic violence prior to coming to New York.

But that doesn’t make Bauer’s public activities acceptable or any more worthy of acquisition. Bauer’s talent doesn’t outweigh that. In the coming weeks, Bobby will give you a more detailed evaluation of Bauer’s on-field production and status as a trade target — provided he isn’t traded beforehand — but his personality is one that isn’t fit to be a franchise leader, glossy media profiles aside.

(MLB Gifs)

That isn’t code for the media will eat him alive; While Bauer would no doubt be tabloid fodder for controversy, he isn’t apt to let public consternation affect his performance on the mound. Only drones can do that. Seriously though, there’s the chance that the Yankees see Bauer’s relationship with the media as a reason not to acquire him, just as when Zack Greinke’s social anxiety disorder made many believe he wanted to avoid a trade to the Yankees.

Bauer has the talent and brash self-will to survive in New York. Still, his history of public comments should be enough to nix him from the Yankees’ list of trade targets.

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32 Comments

  1. overseasyankeefan

    Not sure if Bauer’s history of public comments should (or would) nix him from the Yankees’ list of trade targets. It is after all the club that acquired an alleged domestic abuser when his Trade Value was reported to hit Bottom Low. If the front office’ internal assessment and proprietary data show that Bauer’s on-field production is worth what Indians ask for, there is little point for them not to do the trade (to bolster a clear need in the rotation). That being said, Bauer is surely a special case as his off-field episodes are hard to ignore. For a club that emphasizes work ethic (which Bauer fits, both persistent self-improvement and analytic-driven pursuit) and makeup (which Bauer clashes though that might be debatable), one thing is certain: the New York media will have a field trip every time they step in the ballpark! 😛

  2. Macho Man "Randy Levine"

    I want absolutely no part of Bauer and, yes, it’s because of the things he’s said online. He’s an abhorrent person, and the Yankees don’t need any more of them.

  3. For what it’s worth, I enjoy Bauer’s sense of humor. He does go overboard sometimes and might not be an ideal fit for the Yankees. But in reality very few things are ideal. For instance – we have a short right field porch and a team full of right handed hitters because those right handed hitters are what we had and what was available. Likewise, Bauer is one of the best pitchers available. And between him and Ottavino we would have some serious analytically minded pitchers on the roster. Almost like a potential additional pitching coach.

    • Also his notoriety might end up bringing down his value. Kind of like what happened when we initially traded for Chapman. That might appeal to Cashman

  4. Your a Looser Trader FotD

    The clubhouse cancer is the aspect that concerns me. We have a lot of high character/good-great clubhouse guys, vocal leaders, etc. Question is – can they keep him in check and/or avoid letting him become the kind of distraction that ultimately results in on-field issues? And do we want the energy of our guys spent on that?

    • Brian

      Bauer doesn’t seem like a guy who likes to be kept “in check.” He “knows” he’s the smartest guy in the room wherever he goes.

  5. Brian M

    I don’t think he’d be worth whatever the Indians asked for in return. He’s already making $13M this year and is in his final year of arbitration next year, so it’s not like we’d be getting a cheap contract. And I’m sure Cleveland would want one of our top 3 prospects for him at a minimum. Everything else about Bauer is just noise and to me it should not matter. Tommy Kahnle was supposedly a terrible teammate on the White Sox and we still traded for him.

  6. Idaho Nuke

    I would prefer Scherzer over anyone but would be alright with Bauer.

    Does anyone have a link to something he said that is racist? Or is that just a baseless claim?

  7. lightSABR

    Finally, a post for everyone who says, “You know what I miss most about RAB? The inane political bickering in the comments.”

    A plea to the editors: for the sake of our sanity, can we just leave this kind of thing alone and stick to the baseball?

    • lightSABR

      Okay, in fairness, re-reading the article I realize most of it isn’t about the political stuff, and I can’t disagree that it’s nicer to cheer for guys who don’t write rap songs making fun of teammates.

  8. Rob Port

    Bauer’s on-field performance would be a wonderful add. His off-field performances would be terrible in the New York media market, and a distraction for the whole team. The Yankees have a lot of talent, and seemingly a good clubhouse environment, and I think Bauer would hurt that.

    That being said, the comment about his political views was kinda dumb. Maybe he likes Trump. Maybe he’s a Republican. That shouldn’t be disqualifying.

    It’s not really his politics. It’s that he’s kind of a jackass.

    • Rob in CT

      Totally agree that baseball has a lot of people worse than Trevor Bauer, and tons of guys who likely have (broadly speaking) similar political/social views. Bauer’s a loudmouth/troll on top of it, which presents a potential PR problem for the team. I’m not sure I’d stay away b/c of that.

      Say the Yanks trade for him. Can they do more than politely request that he give it a rest on Twitter? Dunno what the CBA says, if anything, about that.

  9. kyle

    This is a great post. It is also a commenting guidelines honeypot.

  10. chip56

    FWIW – I love this site. I think it’s great and has tons of fantastic content. If I had one bit of constructive criticism to offer though it would be this: You throw so many columns up in such a quick time period that the comments don’t really have time to breathe. By the time you get a good conversation going, there’s a new thread up.

    Like I said, I love it, just a suggestion.

    • jock chiambi

      You make an interesting point but what’s the solution? Fewer posts?

      • Your a Looser Trader FotD

        No, just space them out. It seems like they write a bunch, hold them, then post them in relatively rapid succession. If the goal is 3-5/day or whatever…just wait 2-3 hours between each unless breaking news. That’s what I’d do.

      • chip56

        Yeah, just space them out a bit like the other guy said.

  11. chip56

    Bauer is a troll. He’s the guy who keeps telling you he doesn’t care what you think about him; which everyone knows is bull.

    He would get torched here.

  12. Tony Spicchiali

    I don’t want Bauer on the team but his political beliefs have ZERO to do with it.

  13. This Year

    Agree with your conclusion– and virtually everything you say about this guy. He is insufferable, and I do not want him on my team. BUT to exclude any player because of his political views? No, that is unacceptable to me (and I do not even know what his are). In this republic, no man or woman should be discriminated against because he has certain political beliefs– assuming of course they are not so extreme as to endanger others, on either end of the political spectrum.

    • Tony Spicchiali

      agree 100%

    • Rob in CT

      The argument isn’t to exclude him, as in he shouldn’t be in MLB. The argument he’s a bad fit for NYY.

      • chip56

        I’m not sure his politics would make him a bad fit in NY nearly as much as his smug attitude would make him a bad fit in NY. If you go into every room thinking you’re the smartest person in the room, then you better actually be the smartest person in the room. He’s not. He’s a clown and we’ve already seen how the NY media got to Frazier this year, they’ll chew Bauer up and spit him out.

  14. Ryan

    Interesting read. I disagree that the Yanks should stay away from him. He’d address a need and make the team better. Obviously, the guy is opinionated, often to a fault, but I read all of the links in the post and he really didn’t seems to say anything too bad. I’m not defending him by any means, but to say he “harassed” that woman is going a little overboard. Again, not defending his actions or “victim blaming,” but didn’t the girl say bad things to him first? (Which does not excuse his reaction) Other parts of the article seem to just dismiss his political views just because he is an apparent Trump supporter. I did not vote for Trump and will not vote for him in 2020 either, but we need to stop vilifying people just because they support him.

    I guess for the headaches that he might bring with him, the Yanks should consider staying away, but for pure baseball reasons, I say go get him.

    • chip56

      He’s not so much opinionated as he’s trying to draw a spotlight to himself. He wants to be the center of attention. He wants you to talk to him or about him, and then tell you that he doesn’t care if you talk to him or about him.

  15. SM

    I would guess that a lot of professional athletes, GMs ,and owners have different beliefs than I do, and if they aren’t in your face about it in these hyper-polarizing times I can compartmentalize. But Bauer harassing a woman is completely different. So I would rather lose than root for a team he is on.

    • Then I guess you want Chapman off the team?

      • SM

        I would not have signed him, although the only fact that was proved is that he shot up the ceiling of his garage subsequent to a domestic argument. Apart from that, I am not aware of any other incident.

        • From Wikipedia, “In the incident, he was accused of choking his girlfriend and firing eight gunshots. No charges were filed by the police due to inconsistency in his girlfriend’s reports and lack of physical evidence, and his attorney issued a statement denying the allegations”

          I doubt the Yanks would bring in Bauer, unless the price was too good to be true, kind of like how they got Chapman.

          • SM

            Exactly, accused, so not proved, as I said . It definitely seems there was an incident that caused the shoot up. I have no idea if he actually put his hands on a women. But it’s concerning.

            The other thing to keep in mind is that Chapman appears to be a very quiet guy.

            Bauer is the opposite.

            So it’s not unreasonable to think he will continue to act out in some way.

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