Trevor Bauer: banished by Kevin Towers. Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Checking in on Trevor Bauer

When I first started writing for venomstrikes in 2012, perhaps the most talked-about player was Trevor Bauer. He was the #1 pick (third overall) of the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2011 and his unique mannerisms on the field and 95-97 MPH fastball had fans salivating at the chance of seeing him in the rotation rather quickly. Fast forward two years and Bauer is indeed in a Major League rotation. Too bad it is not in Arizona.

On December 11, 2012, Bauer was traded to the Cleveland Indians in a three team deal that netted the D’backs Didi Gregorius. It remains a controversial deal as the 23-year old right-hander seems to have settled into a permanent role in the Cleveland rotation while Gregorius is now at Triple A Reno. The reasons for Bauer’s departure are well-documented, and frankly, Kevin Towers pulled the plug way too early on him. After spending most of 2013 at Triple A Columbus and making four starts with the Indians, he seems to be maturing into a Major League pitcher. His first start in 2014 was six inning, one run, nine strikeout outing in Columbus. Five days later, he was pitching in Cleveland, throwing six innings of two hit, one run ball against the Padres. Bauer was sent back to Columbus but instead of it affecting his performance, he threw extremely well upon his return to the Clippers. He went 4-1 in six games with an ERA just north of 2.00. The UCLA product came back to the Indians on May 20th and proceeded to defeat the first place Detroit Tigers, hurling six innings and allowing only two runs. Overall, his stats are modest in 2014: 1-2 with a 3.63 ERA. However, he has 29 strikeouts in 22 1/3 innings with only nine walks. In three of his four starts for the Tribe, Bauer has gone six innings. I believe that he has seen the last of Triple A.

Many fans have a number of issues with the deals that Towers has made over the years. It is hard to quantify where Bauer for Didi ranks on the list. However, it appears Bauer’s career is starting to take off while Gregorius’s is languishing. Even if Didi becomes a bona-fide Major League shortstop, Bauer’s ceiling is even higher. He has the goods to be a staff ace.

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  • Rick Daniels

    I think that you overlook the reasons that Bauer is now pitching well in the majors and the reason that he was traded in the first place. In 2012, Bauer was asked by D-Backs management to change some things about his pregame routine and to tweak his delivery. He refused on both counts. The proof that the D-Backs were right can be seen in Bauer’s injury later that season. It pissed management off, Towers in particular, and Bauer was traded. He spent 2013 in the minors, Doing what?, you ask. Changing his pregame routine and completely revamping his delivery. And, surprise, he turned into a pretty good pitcher. One trait that Towers has shown over the years is his inability to disagree with a player and still keep him on the roster. Were the D-Backs right to try to change Bauer’s delivery? Most certainly. Should the D-Backs have found a way to persuade Bauer to change without creating animosity? Most definitely. Does this fall squarely on Towers’ shoulders? Without a doubt.

  • Tom Lynch

    You are right, Rick. KT needs to be the adult in the room and realize he is dealing with a 22-year old, #3 overall pick. He showed no patience with Bauer and Trevor Skaggs and it will prove to be his undoing.

    Thanks for reading!