It’s no secret that Trevor Bauer is a talented pitcher with a fair amount of potential. It’s why there was such widespread surprise when the Arizona Diamondbacks were willing to part with him (despite his “character flaws” that made him “not D’backs material”) in what amounted to a three team trade on December 11th. Now in his first Spring Training as a member of the Cleveland Indians it would seem that Bauer has done nothing but impress his new manager, Terry Francona, but he still appears likely to start the season back in the minor leagues.
Bauer had a dominant 2012 season in the minor leagues. In 22 starts combined between Double-A and Triple-A he posted a 12-2 mark, 2.42 ERA, 1.289 WHIP, and 10.8 K/9 over 130.1 IP. Bauer also made four starts for the Diamondbacks – one in June, three in July – but with mixed results. He went 1-2 with a 6.06 ERA in 16.1 IP, striking out 17 but also walking 13.
There were concerns off the field within the Arizona organization, however, that ultimately led to him being available in the right deal. D’backs GM Kevin Towers appeared to have perceived Bauer as not being a hard worker or “gritty enough” to build a team around. It became obvious Bauer would be traded and the Indians appear to have been the victors who obtained his services. And so far this Spring it appears to be working in Bauer’s favor, as Francona himself spoke highly of the young 22 year old’s work ethic when speaking with the team’s beat reporters, including Sheldon Ocker of the Akron Beacon Journal Online.
When you tell him something, you have to have a reason, which you’re supposed to have anyway. It was like managing Doug Glanville. You would want to say, ‘I know you’re smarter than I am. You don’t have to apologize for it.’
Cleveland faces plenty of uncertainty at the backend of their starting rotation, but no matter how strong Bauer may pitch this Spring it appears unlikely that he will land a spot in the team’s rotation when camp breaks – as that final spot may actually end up going to Scott Kazmir, who’s attempting a comeback, or even Kyle Lohse, who the Indians have continued to be linked to. Bauer will get his chance to pitch in Cleveland this season, but some added experience in the minor leagues certainly can’t hurt him in the long run.