Why the Yankees Staying Away From This Pitcher Is Wise
By Derek McAdam
January 13, 2023
Yesterday, the Los Angeles Dodgers released Trevor Bauer, who served a 194-game suspension after facing sexual assault allegations during the 2021 season. Releasing Bauer will not save the Dodgers any money, unless another team signs him, but the decision to release the 31-year old pitcher does not come as any surprise, as the writing has been on the wall for quite some time.
According to the New York Post’s Jon Heyman, neither the Yankees nor the Mets will pursue Bauer this off-season. It also seems unlikely that any team is going to be willing to sign Bauer. Heyman says signing Bauer would most likely be opposed from ownership and not the executives, some of whom would be willing to take a chance signing the pitcher to a one-year, minimum deal in hopes of adding an ace to the roster.
However, there are a couple of reasons why it is smart that the Yankees are staying clear of Bauer.
First, the Yankees’ rotation is currently experiencing a surplus of starters. Going into Spring Training, the Yankees currently have Gerrit Cole, Carlos Rodon, Nestor Cortes Jr., Luis Severino, Frankie Montas, Domingo German, and Clarke Schmidt competing for starting jobs. While it seems likely that the first four pitchers have their spots secured, the final spot will be up for grabs, and the competition is going to be tough.
Brian Cashman has never shied away from adding depth to the team, especially considering the Yankees’ bad luck they’ve had with injuries over the past few seasons. But, the Yankees have plenty of players in the Minor Leagues who can come up during the season, if needed.
Second, who knows how Bauer is going to perform after missing a season and a half of baseball. Bauer was placed on administrative leave on July 2, 2021, by MLB, and has not pitched in a single game since then. While Bauer has been working out and doing baseball drills, according to his social media posts, facing live batters is a completely different conversation.
One positive is that he is not recovering from an injury, so he’s been able to work out while suspended. But, the Yankees are currently not in a position of trying to experiment with their starting lineup, especially when there are still plenty of question marks that will need to be answered: Does Cortes have a repeat season of last year, and can Montas find his footing in the Bronx? Adding Bauer to that list is just not worthy at this point.
Lastly, and perhaps the most important reason, is how Bauer is going to be perceived in the locker room. While Bauer has not been found guilty of any crime and is innocent according to the law, there were rumors floating around the MLB community that the Dodgers’ players did not want Bauer playing for the team. Whether or not that was true, there wasn’t anyone who came out and denied these rumors.
If a team were to sign Bauer, there would be endless questions asked to the players, coaches and executives about him. Most likely, the players and coaches would get annoyed quickly with having to answer repeat questions about what it’s like having Bauer on their team. Some players would probably welcome the talent, but there would be at least one player who would dance around the question to avoid saying anything negative about one of their teammates.
There has also been plenty of news that has circulated over the previous few seasons about how Bauer is a “cancer” in other locker rooms.
On the other hand, current Chicago Cubs catcher and Bauer’s former teammate Tucker Barnhart has spoke highly of Bauer, saying that he made him a much better catcher during their time together in Cincinnati.
Current Chicago White Sox pitcher Mike Clevinger has also spoken well of Bauer, telling Sports Illustrated that he has a bad character for “almost being too honest.” Clevinger also detailed how Bauer was willing to help anyone who came to him with a problem during his time with Cleveland.
The Yankees already have at least one questionable figure in the locker room heading into 2023, so they most definitely do not need to add another to that. Would Bauer help the Yankees out? If he pitches like his former self, the Yankees would arguably have the best rotation in the league. However, as mentioned before, the Yankees are not desperate enough to take a huge gamble on someone like Bauer.