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Why The Dodgers Shouldn’t Want Trevor Bauer

Oct 5, 2018; Houston, TX, USA; Cleveland Indians pitcher Trevor Bauer (47) delivers a pitch during the seventh inning in game one of the 2018 ALDS playoff baseball series against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The stove has been pretty hot so far this offseason. In the last week or so, the supposed trade talks between the Dodgers and the Indians has been hotter. The overall gist is a possible trade of Puig/top prospect/another outfielder for a Corey Kluber or Trevor Bauer.

Dodger twitter has been absolutely on fire on this topic for the past few days. I am not going to touch on Trevor Bauer’s politics, at least not here. There are easily two different overarching reasons the Dodgers should want Kluber over Bauer, and that’s what I’m going to touch on.

 

Insecurity Breeds A Bad Teammate

First off I admit I had to source these tweets from a ‘burner’ account of sorts. Last year Trevor Bauer blocked me on twitter. I mourned for many weeks. He had gone on one of his long-winded rants and I told him: “Trevor, you drone on forever.” Moments later, I was blocked.

If you’re unfamiliar, Mr. Bauer missed some time while doing some work on his hobby, a drone. He missed the playoffs. Most people who use twitter invariably have said worse (and not in a good way, I understand) to a professional athlete. Most athletes either don’t see the tweet, ignore it, or if it’s particularly offensive they’d probably just block that user.

Poking fun at something that is undeniably true (and I’m sorry but I thought it was hilarious) seems a little petty. I am only sharing this encounter because I thought it was funny, to be honest, and because it belies a lot of what I am going to describe.

The Cy Young race in 2018 concluded with a hard fought victory for Blake Snell. Congratulations to him. Trevor Bauer offered his congratulations. No ok, he didn’t. He instead went the passive aggressive route.

Forgive me for yet another basketball analogy, but this look from Mr. Bauer isn’t pretty. He appears to be yelling at the referee that ‘ball don’t lie.’ If that isn’t a comparison you like–he’s flat out whining. Exhibit C is below.

Here above he is again passive aggressively making his case that he got snubbed out of Cy Young considerations. What kind of pro athlete does this? I’ve always understood the outdated moniker of the top pro athletes as ‘Alpha dogs’ who don’t care what others think. It’s been said that to get to the apex of professional competition, you almost HAVE to have an oversized ego. You have to believe you’re the best player when you walk into a room, etc etc.

We have all heard the platitudes regarding the mindset of a pro athlete. Perhaps those aren’t fair, perhaps they build into stereotypical suppositions of machismo. However there’s no doubt it’s a sign of an insecure man, tearing down his peers instead of congratulating them. His peers on other teams aren’t the only targets–he goes lower.

That is Trevor Bauer on twitter, sarcastically stating he was better than HIS OWN TEAMMATE. It can be argued this is the truth, but frankly that’d be missing the point. NO teammate does this. Could Dodger fans imagine Clayton Kershaw taking to social media in 2017 claiming “Plot twist, I was better than Scherzer this year”? No. How much worse would it have been if Zack Greinke did this to Clayton when they were both throwing bullets as Dodgers? THAT is the type of player definitely fitting of the mold of a ‘clubhouse cancer.’

Invariably, people will say Trevor is in fact a tremendous teammate. That’s fine, but good teammates don’t do these types of things. Good teammates lift each other up. Dodger fans know firsthand of Dodger players who have done this regularly.

Double Standard?

Forget pitchers for a moment. It’s fresh in the memory of Dodger fans that Yasiel Puig has been described as carrying this type of baggage in the past. Some of that could definitely be a fair charge. However, if Yasiel Puig also took to social media last year after the season and started proclaiming that he got snubbed of a gold glove and that he was in fact better than Jason Heyward–MLB fans would be livid. I don’t see this type of outrage directed at Trevor Bauer and yet he said this about his own teammate. It’s fairly transparent and telling.

Professional Responsibility

Those were but a few of the more egregious tweets I lifted from Trevor Bauer’s social media. Beyond his teammates and peers, he’s incredibly disparaging to people who offer criticisms to him online. Engaging with professional athletes on social media is a personal choice, and a person should definitely understand that these athletes are entitled to answer back. That premise is an easily accepted by cause and effect. However these are professional athletes who should know by now that their social media posts are heavily scrutinized. More importantly than that, and this is paramount–professional athletes and Trevor Bauer should be held accountable for their responses as well, and held to a higher standard.

Here are two screenshots of something Bauer said. He carefully walks the line here about the specific verbiage he uses, but you should never insinuate to anybody that they should consider taking their own life. Ever.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pretty bad look for a professional athlete.

2018 Was An Outlier

Trevor Bauer has been a pretty good pitcher since around 2016. His 2018 campaign saw his (fangraphs) WAR a solid and impressive 6.1, almost double the year before. Here are his WAR numbers for the past 5 years.

  • 2014 WAR: 1.4
  • 2015 WAR: 1.8
  • 2016 WAR: 2.7
  • 2017 WAR: 3.2
  • 2018 WAR 6.1

This isn’t to say it’s possible he ‘truly emerged’ last year. It happens. In the 4 previous years, he pitched a similar innings count. Why did he get so much better this year? Well for one being in a rotation of Kluber, Carrasco, can really help. Jeff Sullivan over at Fangraphs posted a very good stat. I know advanced stats are tough, but stay with me.

 

 

 

 

This is basically saying to a point he got lucky. “Luck” can be a controversial word but if we look hard at sports, there’s ALWAYS some luck involved. The Cy Young award winner, Blake Snell, faced considerably harder competition. That said, Trevor Bauer definitely did not tweet out this particular statistic. It must have slipped his mind.

Coming over the NL for Bauer would likely face some advantages and challenges. If we were to hope for a median between his 2018 season, and his potential for 2019: a 5.5 WAR season is realistic (but not guaranteed.)

Corey Kluber

  • 2014 WAR: 7.4
  • 2015 WAR: 5.6
  • 2016 WAR: 5.1
  • 2017 WAR: 7.3
  • 2018 WAR: 5.6

Those numbers are consistently FAR and AWAY superior to Bauer’s. The next argument from anyone who prefers Bauer is almost assuredly “what about Kluber’s playoff failures?” At least Kluber has playoff experience. Bauer’s playoff experience involves drones and being skipped in the rotation.

 

Why Dodger Fans Don’t Want Bauer

I’ve said everything I could that doesn’t involve politics about why Kluber is worth his price tag, by a galactic amount. Here, I’ll just let some Dodger fans sound off in their own words

(Not specifically a Dodger fan but they’re great on twitter)

https://twitter.com/sportinglife_/status/1068205461604716544

 

Final Thoughts

Obviously there are fans out there who are supportive of the idea of Trevor Bauer as a Dodger. I used the opposing opinion because they genuinely dominated what I read over the past 48 hours. I’ll leave you with a quote from some guy (legend, icon, Dodger favorite) Vin Scully.

“Good is not good when better is expected.” – Vin Scully.

Trevor Bauer is good, but we should expect a little better, especially if some better Dodger players get sent to Cleveland for him.

 

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Written by AJ Gonzalez

AJ is a lifelong Dodgers fan who grew up in California. His whole family are also lifelong Dodgers fans. He lives in Tennessee with his wife, daughter, beagle, and strat.

11 Comments

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  1. I appreciate this perspective. Another writer on a different website wrote an article about why the Dodgers SHOULD get Bauer, but he never mentioned his character. Character is a BIG factor. Thanks for the insight, hopefully th FO is on the same page.

    • Pretty important piece to add in to the article. Every sports website will give you the numbers. Every one of us can look up the numbers. The other half is just as important and took me some work to put together. Thanks a lot for your feedback!

  2. Thank you for this information. I definitely don’t want that in the clubhouse even though the tweets were hilarious that kind of character is not good on a team. I hope Friedman is paying attention to dodger fans feelings towards this

    • Thanks for the feedback! This kind of clubhouse stuff can often be overlooked. Team chemistry is a real thing and I wouldn’t want a guy like this around. Thanks again!

  3. “He missed the playoffs.” “Bauer’s playoff experience involves drones and being skipped in the rotation.” These statements are patently false. In 2016, he made one start in the ALDS, one start in the ALCS where admittedly he only went 2/3 of an inning because of that drone injury, and then two starts in the World Series. In 2017, he started two games in the ALDS. In the 2018 ALDS, he pitched out of the bullpen because of a late season injury. I totally understand not liking him or wanting him on the team because of his character or reputation — many people around both leagues seem to feel that way — but to imply that he doesn’t have postseason experience is simply untrue.

  4. Dodgers have been my team forever, but this guy is a deal breaker for me. The team that started Jackie Robinson in 1947 doesn’t need this joker in a Dodger uniform. The team that has Stan Kasten, Magic Johnson, and Billie Jean King on board, among so many other great people, just need to take a pass on him. Yes, what he says and how he conducts himself matters greatly.

  5. When you consistently get better every year it’s not called an outlier it’s called
    continuous improvement.

  6. Bauer is better than any pitcher on the Dodgers’ staff right and he’s just coming into his prime at 28.

  7. B.S. He’s an arrogant pro athlete (on no!) who sometimes fires back on Twitter. Look at some of the knuckle-heads that were on our roster last year. He’s a quality starter and if some teams withdraw because of this type of nonsense so much the better for us. Look at the opposition’s starting rotations. We’re dramatically behind and he’d be an awesome addition.

    Don’t block me bro!

  8. Bauer is a terrible person. I don’t want him on the team. In fact I’d probably turn off the TV if he took the mound for LAD…oh, wait…

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