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Trevor Bauer - impact starting pitcher - coming to Cleveland

Trevor Bauer - impact starting pitcher - coming to Cleveland
Trevor Bauer (Photo: CBS Sports)
December 11, 2012
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Many players changed hands  tonight in the Cleveland-Arizona-Cincinnati mega-trade, but it is possible none will have more impact than starting pitcher Trevor Bauer.

Bauer, who turns 22 in January, is the sort of top-flight starting pitcher Cleveland has not had since the CC Sabathia and Cliff Lee trades. It would be too much to assume Bauer will win Cy Young Awards like those two, but there is no doubt he has that sort of upside.

Before the 2012 season, Baseball America rated Bauer as a consensus top-10 prospect in all of baseball and gave him an overall grade of 70 on the 20-80 scale. The publication also noted that he has a 92-98 MPH fastball that sits at 94-95, an elite 12-to-6 curveball, a great slider, an above-average changeup, and a solid splitter, along with a slurve-type pitch called "The Bird" he likes to fool around with.

Needless to say, that is the repertoire of an elite starting pitcher. Bauer has his quirks (like his 400 foot long-toss sessions and obsession with advanced concepts like "biomechanics, effective velocity and pitch tunneling," per Baseball America), but if it works for him, it works for me.

Bauer had no issue carving up minor league batters, striking out 200 batters in 156.0 innings (mostly split between AA and AAA). That kind of dominance is absolutely crazy and a testament to Bauer's raw ability.

Of course, that raw ability did not translate all that well in Bauer's first taste of major league action. In four starts with the Diamondbacks, Bauer only made it through 16.1 innings, allowing 13 runs (11 earned), 13 walks, and two home runs. Though he struck out 16 batters in that timeframe, that was the first time Bauer, the first member of the 2011 Draft class to reach the majors, truly hit the wall in professional baseball.

After this season, reports of the Diamondbacks souring on Bauer's attitude surfaced, specifically about his reluctance to change the way he pitches to better adapt to the major league game. Scouting reports say that his fastball is too flat to leave up in the zone, something Bauer likes doing, and he cannot challenge major league hitters in that way.

I am hesitant to put too much faith in this grumbling, though. How many 21-year-old boys get defensive after being told things they have been doing that have worked beautifully for their entire life, are wrong. Most people at that age get defensive and stubborn and I think that people are making too much of a fuss over Bauer's reported reaction. All 21-year-olds are immature; they grow up.

It is possible that Bauer needs an attitude change and will not succeed in the majors without it. It is also possible that the Diamondbacks are trading him because they know something we do not. But from what we know, Cleveland just acquired a major league ready starting pitcher with ace potential for one year of Shin-Soo Choo and some other assorted pieces.

This is the kind of deal that can change the fortunes of a team. Bauer is under team control for the next six years and should anchor the rotation for most (if not all) of that time. He is the sort of impact talent this team has sorely missed in recent years and is a mammoth addition.

If you want to follow Jim on Twitter, he’s @JimPiascik. If you want to e-mail him, you can do so at

If you want to follow Jim on Twitter, he’s @JimPiascik. If you want to e-mail him, you can do so at If you want to read his Master's thesis on college athletes and Twitter, you can do so here.

User Comments

December 13, 2012 - 8:42 AM EST
Roger, Jackson has moved around a lot, but I think some of that has to do with changing agents. Dropping Scott Boras last summer sealed his fate with the Nationals. He seems like a good guy, and he runs out there every fifth day.
December 12, 2012 - 6:45 PM EST
I'm in the minority, but I am very concerned about the acquisition of Bauer. Coachability is a BIG issue w/him. Before the draft, he told clubs NOT to draft him if they were going to mess w/his mechanics. He repeatedly shakes off his catcher, even on his first professional pitch.

Obviously he has the physical tools to put it all together. But, unless he begins to let others help him to become better, he will be one in a long line of toolsy players who never come near reaching their potential
December 12, 2012 - 10:14 AM EST
just a brief comment and living 50 miles from detroit i should know the answer but never heard anything negative about edwin jackson but he sure has been a lot of places with some of the best mgrs in baseball so he may have an attitude deficiency. Awfully good are to have been with the rays, tigers, chisox, diamonds, cards, and nats in like 6 yrs. Do actions speak louder than words?
December 12, 2012 - 8:44 AM EST
Carrasco is not pitching winter ball. Sounds like Indians don't want him to risk injury and have happen to him what happened to Rondon last offseason in his return from TJ surgery.
fall classic
December 12, 2012 - 8:41 AM EST
Tony, is Carassco pitching any winter ball and if so how well is he faring? Thanks.
December 12, 2012 - 8:39 AM EST
Boy, take a night off and all hell breaks loose. Real nice deal. In all aspects. Surprised to say this but nice job Antonetti. And Cabrera and Perez are still available if the right move comes along. Maybe this deal will move Swisher/Ross and Jackson to look more closely at Cleveland. They are serious in their efforts to upgrade substantially, and this will show it. Have to say am much more excited now that a deal has been done. Had my doubts for a while. Just hope Bauer tightens things up between the ears, and becomes the starter we think he can.
Jim Piascik
December 12, 2012 - 8:05 AM EST
Some luck will need to be involved (Masterson rebounding, Ubaldo putting some of the pieces back together, Kipnis/Santana taking the next big step), but I agree. Suddenly this team looks like something decent, something a few moves away from fitting together.
December 12, 2012 - 7:48 AM EST
Going to disagree Andy. If the Indians go out and get the starting pitcher and outfielder in free agency like they are aggressively pursuing now, depending on who they end up being, this team will be much improved and in the thick of thins in the AL Central. The Tigers would still be the favorite, but the other teams would be as good or no better. If the Indians get Edwin Jackson like they hope and get Swisher or Ross, then the lineup and rotation are all improved next season. As for Cabrera, they now don't have to trade him unless someone bowls them over. Decent chance he stays, which I would be find with. And the market on Perez is bad. Indians don't want Single-A prospects for him, they want ML players or prospects that are ML ready and they are not getting anything close to that. Good chance they keep him and go with a very good bullpen for next year. That pen could be damn good, and if Masterson and Jimenez pitch more to norms, then a rotation of say Masterson, Jackson, Bauer, McAllister, and Jimenez is suddenly solid with a good bullpen behind them.
Andy Comminsk
December 12, 2012 - 4:16 AM EST
@Shy You don't want to be trading for Ellsbury. Like Choo, he has 2013 on his contract and that's that.

Andy Comminsk
December 12, 2012 - 4:10 AM EST
Every team in the division has made changes. Off-season isn't over but everything to be read around the league suggests a last place finish for the Tribe.

They need to trade Cabrera for that reason. If they do not, they've blown their golden opportunity. Chris Perez can also now be shipped since the Tribe apparently is up +1 in the Relief pitching department.

Those high-salaried men can yield reasonable prospects who will be around town for the future.

December 12, 2012 - 12:42 AM EST
@Shy - Ellsbury is a Boras client in his walk year (FA in 2014).
December 12, 2012 - 12:33 AM EST
i know a kid who pitched at two milb levels with Bauer. Apparently the kid is an unmitigated ass.

dont care what his politics is as long as the little sob can pitch.
December 12, 2012 - 12:21 AM EST
Shy says best trade in recent memory. Antonetti went back door w Choo when the Cabrera deal didn't fly- I will give credit where it's due. Bauer will excite the fan base, put tons of people in the seats who have been waiting since 97 for something to get excited about. And he will excite the national media every time he pitches. I watched TIm Lincecum in S.F. when he came on the scene. Cult following out here both from baseball purists and casual passersby who took one look and got hooked. I think Bauer is a little bigger, a little stronger and has a better repertoire than Timmy did when he came up. And like Timmy he seems very intelligent and intuitive about the craft. I think the Indians got the most they could out of Choo and he may have continued to have trouble leaving the demons that follow him home when he took the field. A fresh start w Dusty Baker will hopefully do him some good. Stubbs didn't get along w Dusty who can be very intrusive in the hitting advice dept. The man can track flies and steal bases with the best of them, he could be a late bloomer ala Ryan Ludwick in the hitting department. The RedSox are desperate for a shortstop they have had 24 of them since 2004 and the two they have now are subpar. If Antonetti wants to be G.M. of the year he trades Cabrera for Jacoby Ellsbury, and then let the Red Sox sign Nick Swisher to bomb the short porch in Fenway. Ellsbury, Stubbs, Brantley, would be the fastest outfield in baseball.
December 12, 2012 - 12:14 AM EST
The Indians are not done. They plan to aggressively pursue an outfielder and starting pitching in free agency. This is just the tip of the iceberg. Swisher and E. Jackson are their #1 targets right now.
December 12, 2012 - 12:09 AM EST
I would like to see them hold onto Cabrera, though they should trade Chris Perez. That way they can free up some cash to sweeten their offer to Swisher, and he's very expendable now. I really think they should go after both Swisher and Cody Ross. Or Swisher and Edwin Jackson. If they could sign two of those guys, they will have an improved team next year, and will obviously have improved their long-term outlook.

December 11, 2012 - 11:56 PM EST
White's time as a starting pitcher is likely over, and the same will be true of Pomeranz if he doesn't figure out how to throw his changeup - check out the Fangraphs article on Pomeranz's struggles in 2012. Ubaldo may barely be a replacement level starter anymore but at least he's a starter.
December 11, 2012 - 11:22 PM EST
Bauer, Masterson, Pomeranz, Carrasco, White, McAllister. Damn wouldn't that be great?
December 11, 2012 - 10:31 PM EST
I think there is a good chance Cabrera stays with the club. Under control two years and not expensive. Can still trade him for more pitching or another need possibly. There are lots of suitors out there for him still. I think there is a good chance he could open with the team now though.
Matt underwood
December 11, 2012 - 10:26 PM EST
Good job tribe, kudos. Have always loved Bauer and had wished he had fallen to them in the draft. Hope they keep trading assets for starting pitching.

Tony, what happens to Asdrocab? Think he starts the season on the team?

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