Bauer Needs to Make Offseason Adjustments

After a surprising 2013 Cleveland Indians season the organization has higher expectations for 2014 than any season dating back to 2008. The Indians and their fans will expect a playoff team and World Series contender. For the month of October, we’ll look at the how the Indians became a contender, but most importantly, How Do the Indians Reach the Next Level?

Not all of the 2013 Cleveland Indians storylines are ones of smiles and overachievements.  For one particular starting pitching prospect, 2013 will go down as a frustratingly lost season.

When the Indians traded for young phenom starter Trevor Bauer last offseason, the vast majority of people praised the Tribe for snaring one of the more talented young arms in baseball.

Bauer’s former team—the Arizona Diamondbacks—were among those people.

The Diamondbacks players felt a bit of relief when the Indians acquired Bauer in a nine player deal that sent Shin-Soo Choo to the Reds and Tony Sipp to the D-Backs while also bringing Drew Stubbs, Matt Albers and Bryan Shaw to the Tribe.  Legend says that Bauer shook off his catcher the first pitch he ever threw in the Major Leagues, setting poor tone in the Arizona clubhouse.  According to what Arizona President Derrick Hall told USA Today Sports, “(Bauer) just had a really tough year with his teammates.”  That one sentence speaks loudly about a young player who was still trying to prove himself in the Big Leagues.

The most vocal of the D-Backs players was catcher Miguel Montero, who was told by reporters that Bauer said he needed to tell Montero how to call a game.  Montero replied harshly.  “What?  He’s going to tell me how to do my job?”

In Spring Training after Bauer had already been traded, Montero continued to pile on the young pitcher in an article by Adam Green.  “When you get a guy like that and he thinks he’s got everything figured out, it’s just tough to commence and try to get on the same page with you…Since day one in Spring Training I caught him and he killed me because he threw about 100 pitches the first day…He never wanted to listen…Good luck to Carlos Santana.”

Eight months later, Montero’s words seem like they may be dangerously accurate.

It speaks volumes that Bauer—who was widely considered the Indians second best prospect at the outset of the season—appeared in only four games for the Tribe this season and zero after June ended.  Bauer was left off of the team when the roster expanded in September and was a mere afterthought as the Indians stormed into the postseason.

On the year, Bauer made four starts for the Indians and posted a 1-2 record with a 5.29 ERA, 16 walks and 11 strikeouts in just 17.0 innings.  He had an outrageous WHIP of 1.824 to go along with his poor 8.5 BB/9.  His minor league numbers were nearly as bad, posting an unimpressive 6-7 record with a 4.15 ERA and a 5.4 BB/9.  His 1.582 WHIP in Triple-A would have been third worst in all of Major League Baseball among pitchers that qualified for the statistic.  Perhaps the organization lost some faith in him, or maybe Bauer was just as big of a pain in the Indians clubhouse as he was in the Diamondbacks.

While nothing major has ever been reported out of the Indians happy-go-lucky locker room, Bauer has unquestionably lost his spot as the Indians best pitching prospect to Wild Card Game starter Danny Salazar.  While Bauer continued to flop in the minors, Salazar dazzled in Cleveland and etched his name in the 2014 rotation…a place where Bauer was supposed to be by now.

Bauer has the look and the feel about him—an arrogant kid who thinks he knows everything and doesn’t want to listen to anybody.  Coming out of his alma mater of UCLA, Bauer told Sports Illustrated that he would be fine with dropping in the draft to be taken by a team that let him do his thing.

“I told them all: ‘this is what I do, it’s what I believe in, and if you let me stick with it, I’ll pitch in the major leagues for 20 years…Some were open. Some weren’t. But they needed to know what they were getting into.”

Bauer has a bizarre warm-up routine, an awkward delivery, inconsistent command, and an arrogantly stubborn mindset of ‘my way or no way’.  He seems to have a team-second attitude, overthinking himself to a glaring fault and is getting awful results because of it.  He has a large arsenal of at least seven pitches and seems to have control issues with nearly all of them.  He doesn’t seem to want to change, but what may have worked in the past—Bauer has previously been named Pac-10 Pitcher of the Year and the Diamondbacks’ organization Pitcher and Player of the Year, as well—is certainly not working well for him now.

If Bauer wants a chance to make one of the potential open spots in the 2014 Cleveland Indians rotation, he needs to make adjustments both physically and mentally to have a chance.  If Bauer would open his mind to an outside idea from Pitching Coach Mickey Callaway, he may find some success like Ubaldo Jimenez—another seemingly lost lamb—did during his bounce-back campaign.  If he doesn’t, Bauer could find himself in Columbus trying to again prove his worth in what could be another lost season.

Photo: Paul Beaty/Associated Press

Related Posts

Can Kluber Oust Lee as Cleveland’s Most Recent Cy Winner?

An impressive and very much unexpected and dominant 2014 season has thrust Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Corey Kluber’s name to the top of the list in the…

Minor League Free Agents Can Make or Break a Season

In the NFL and NBA, a general manager can be made or broken by the first-year player draft. Newly selected players, especially those taken early on tend…

Promotions on the Horizon in 2014

With Indians baseball fast approaching, it’s time for fans to start getting excited and ready for their 2014 adventures to Progressive Field. Half the fun of a…

Indians May Have One Splash Left this Winter

Just over a week ago, Indians manager Terry Francona told the media and fans alike at TribeFest that he is happy with their roster as they close…

Indians Baseball is Just Around the Corner

The weather in northeast Ohio this winter has given baseball fans the feeling that spring will never come. The Cleveland Indians’ organization and several of its minor…

A Good Mix of Bullpen Arms

The Indians bullpen has long been a point of strength for the team. Through a revolving door of pitchers, the Indians have managed to maintain a well-run…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.