Always known for thinking outside the box, Reds right-hander Trevor Bauer has another unconventional idea: Wherever he signs as a free agent after this season, he wants to pitch every fourth day instead of every fifth, Bobby Nightengale of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports.
“It only seems crazy because no one is doing it right now,” Bauer said of his plan. “But I’m very convicted in the fact that, one, I can do it. Two, I would be better doing it. And three, it would be a benefit to my team.”
Along with that request, Bauer wants to play for a contender that respects him and values technology, Nightengale relays. That all seems reasonable enough, but whether anyone would sign him with the intention of starting him every fourth day is an open question. Regardless, it’s not the first time Bauer has expressed a willingness to pitch on short rest.
Back when he was a member of the Indians during the 2017 ALDS, Bauer made a start on three days’ rest, saying beforehand, “I consider this normal rest for me.” He added, “If I could draw it up personally, this is how I’d pitch every time.”
Bauer then went out and yielded four earned runs in 1 2/3 innings in a loss to the Yankees, though it wouldn’t be fair to pass judgment based on a one-game sample size.
Aside from offering his opinions on how much rest he prefers, Bauer has raised eyebrows in the past by expressing a desire to eschew long-term contracts and sign one-year deals for the rest of his career. While discussing that subject with Nightengale, the 29-year-old seemed less sure of how he’ll proceed.
“I mean, I don’t know how I’m going to react once free agency gets here,” Bauer stated. “I said what I said, but you can never know how it’s going to go until you actually get there.”
Bauer also noted that he’s not motivated by money at this point, having “made a lot of” it during his career. He earned just under $30MM in salaries from 2011-19, according to Baseball Reference, and will make another $17.5MM this season in his last year of arbitration control.
Bauer may be in for another big salary in 2021, but it’s fair to say that will depend in part on how he pitches this year. While he had a rough go of it with the Reds after they acquired him from the Indians last July, his combined production between the two teams was still decent. The hard-throwing Bauer wound up with a 4.48 ERA/4.34 FIP and 10.69 K/9 and 3.46 BB/9 in a career-best 213 innings (his fifth straight season with 175 or more frames), but those numbers pale in comparison to his all-world output from 2018.