I’ve received endless amounts of questions and suggestions that the Braves should target Trevor Bauer. The polarizing starting pitcher seems to have cleared his name in the sexual assault investigation that led to him receiving an unprecedented two-year suspension from Major League Baseball.
Trevor Bauer was already reinstated by the league in December of 2022, and his agents are currently meeting with MLB teams in hopes of him returning, making him one of the best pitchers on the market from a purely baseball perspective. According to Jon Heyman, Bauer posted a 9-2 record with a 1.97 ERA over his last 15 starts in Japan, and his fastball even topped out at over 99 MPH.
Trevor Bauer’s agents Jon Fetterolf and Rachel Luba are meeting with teams in hopes of finding Bauer a job back in MLB. Bauer went 10-4 with a 2.76 ERA for Yokohama, including 9-2 with a 1.97 ERA over his last 15 starts. His fastball ticked up 1 mph on average, hitting a 99.3 max
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) November 9, 2023
It’s impossible to tackle Bauer’s situation without looking at it from two perspectives — the baseball side and the clubhouse/PR side.
From the baseball perspective, Trevor Bauer might be the best possible solution to the Braves starting pitching woes. He’s arguably the most talented pitcher out of all the free agents. He won the NL Cy Young in 2020 and might have been well on his way to another one in 2021 before his suspension, pitching to a 2.59 ERA. Who knows how he might handle the return to the States, which certainly will be met with plenty of skepticism. But that kind of uncertainty will make him far more affordable, which has to be very attractive to a team like the Braves, who probably don’t have a ton of room to maneuver this offseason financially.
The clubhouse/PR side is where things get messy. I don’t want to get into the specifics of the accusations, but whether you think Trevor Bauer is the scum of the earth or not, he will bring a circus to the clubhouse. Beyond that, Bauer’s antics have been criticized since his college days at UCLA. He doesn’t exactly have a glaring reputation for being a beloved teammate.
With that being said, these comments from Mookie Betts certainly will make him much more attractive to inquiring teams.
“My experience with Bauer is not anything remotely close to what everyone else’s experience is,” Betts said via The Los Angeles Times. “I love him. I think he’s an awesome guy. The personal things? I have no control. I have no say. Obviously, nothing ever came from it.
“He’s an awesome pitcher. He’s a great guy, somebody who wants to take the mound every fifth day. But, at the end of the day, I don’t make the decision. That’s a decision that’s not as simple as baseball.”
Betts is one of the faces of baseball, and by all accounts, a class act. His words carry a lot of weight around the league, but they won’t be enough to sway many general managers, including Alex Anthopoulos.
The Braves aren’t typically an organization that goes after players with checkered pasts. Some might point to Marcell Ozuna, but the team had already invested $65 million into him prior to his arrest for domestic violence. Had that incident occurred prior to the signing, he wouldn’t be a member of the Braves organization today. That’s a guarantee.
I just don’t see any scenario where the Braves show interest in Trevor Bauer. They’ve already had to reluctantly suffer through the entire Marcell Ozuna saga, and I highly doubt that’s something they even want to think about going through again. I do believe someone will overlook Bauer’s faults in favor of what he can offer on the mound. It just won’t be the Braves.
Photo: Peter Joneleit/Icon Sportswire