Trevor Bauer has relied heavily on social media to keep fans aware of his trip through free agency, and the right-hander shared his latest thoughts in a new YouTube video detailing his top priorities in finding a new team. Some of these sentiments have been shared by Bauer in past interviews, though it is certainly worth checking in to see what the offseason’s top free agent is looking for, particularly since the free agent market as a whole has yet to really develop as we approach the middle of January.
To begin with, Bauer says that geography and market size aren’t big factors in his decision-making process. The Los Angeles native seemingly doesn’t mind one way or the other about playing close to home, and as Bauer points out, his online presence allows him to publicize himself and his brand from anywhere in North America, no matter the size of his next team’s media market.
What is important, however, is that team’s willingness to allow Bauer to continue his attempts at growing a brand and being more visible, as well as a willingness to include teammates in those endeavors (if they so choose) as part of his efforts to grow broader interest in baseball. It all ties into Bauer’s desire for “a partnership” with his next team, and a two-way effort by both sides.
In regards to his personal training methods and data-driven approach, the reigning NL Cy Young Award winner wants “to be able to be with an organization that values those things, that can give me information that I can learn from and increase my knowledge base and my understanding of the game. But I also want an organization that’s open to some of the things that I’m doing and can learn from me.”
For instance, as it relates to Bauer’s oft-stated desire to pitch every fourth day, he isn’t insistent that his team deploy him in such a fashion, but simply that the team be open to seriously considering the possibility. Naturally, Bauer’s plan will hinge on how his pitching on shorter rest could impact the rest of a rotation — “I don’t want to ever take away from my fellow players’ ability to go out and do their job to the best of their ability,” Bauer said, since the point is to get “everybody performing at a higher level.”
Since Bauer feels he’ll be “as good or better” pitching on three days’ rest, however, he sees this ability as a plus to a pitching staff. Depending on a team’s needs, Bauer pitching more often could help address multiple situations, as he notes that it could help other pitchers who perform better with more rest, or pitchers who are on innings limits.
Particularly coming off an abbreviated 2020 season and questions about how many pitchers will now have to rebuild arm strength for a longer 2021 campaign, Bauer’s argument is certainly persuasive. He also said that the Reds, his former team, were “great about actually having that discussion” about potentially making more frequent starts in 2020, though Bauer ended up pitching only once last season on three days’ rest (delivering one of his best outings of the year).
Aside from mentioning pitching for the Reds, Indians, and Diamondbacks over his career, Bauer didn’t provide any specifics about particular teams who might be candidates to sign him, or any details about his contractual demands, whether they be longer-term or shorter-term deals. He restated that he wants to play for a team that will make an aggressive push to contend every season (“My career is too short to really be part of a rebuilding window. I just don’t want to do that.”) and he wants “to be fairly compensated for my value,” which covers both what he offers a team based on past track record and what he’ll offer going forward in projected future performance.
Broadly, Bauer has a simple overall goal for the next step of his career: “I want to be happy.” While quite probably not a sign that Bauer is exploring a return to Cincinnati or Cleveland, Bauer did say that over “the last couple of years…I’ve enjoyed playing baseball a lot more than I have earlier in my professional career. I don’t want to go back to being miserable playing the game I love.”