Trevor Bauer’s market seems to be dissolving and that’s a shame
By Adam Weinrib
Nobody wants to sign Trevor Bauer, who is now begging teams to get involved.
Considering he’s the only ace on the free agent market, you’d think that Trevor Bauer would have a robust group of teams at least lingering in his wake. You’d assume Yankees fans would be clamoring for Gerrit Cole’s opinion on the “like and subscribe”-inclined righty, trying to figure out if the two could ever coexist again.
But based on the slow-as-molasses speed of Bauer’s market, there might as well be a Cole on every big league roster, serving as an embedded enemy blocking the import.
We haven’t heard anything definitive about the chase for Bauer’s services except from Bauer himself, who, along with his agent Rachel Luba (henceforth known as AgentRachelLuba, one word), has been pushing the narrative that he “wouldn’t mind” playing for any of Major League Baseball’s teams, purchasing sham plane tickets mid-pandemic to tease various fan bases about his availability.
It would seem, though, that no one’s buying.
The extremely polarizing Bauer free agency process is playing out like a familiar song from our recent political discourse.
Some fans are dogmatically committed to Bauer, no matter how undeserving he is of the adulation. They would sign him to cap the rotations of 30 teams, claiming he would top them all, despite the fact that his only seasons with ERAs under 4.00 were 2018 and the 60-gamer. They are the desired market for his LIDS campaign, a balancing act of 10 different caps on his outstretched arms.
But many fans also see Bauer’s free agency for what it is: a narrative driven by a pair of people built farcically on top of wild promises and a personal brand that doesn’t stand for much more than the exposure itself.
In fact, Bauer’s entire “brand” has been comprised of wild swings intended to make you forget about just how bad, childish and pointless his behavior was throughout the first two thirds of his career. Now, he’s trying to huck that combative persona over the center field wall like a knee-jerk burst of anger.
If Bauer ever saw this, I’m sure he’d try to paint me as the one who doesn’t “get it”. Or, he’d ignore my criticism entirely, seeing as I’m not a woman.
But as January turns into February turns into March, it seems the rest of Major League Baseball has come to the same conclusion about Bauer’s self-produced non-circus as they did about his desire for one-year deals for the rest of his career.
It’s all a bluff, as is the myth that the pitcher himself has some long, documented history of dominance on the mound; most of Bauer’s seasons end with ERA spikes that mimic his blood pressure when he sniffs out a conflicting opinion online. After all, if the pitcher really does intend to market himself as the open and honest player who gives fans a look behind the curtain, I wonder what he’d say if someone pressed him on the frowned-upon strategies for improving spin rate he extolled before his own spin rate magically rose last year.
Instead of anything groundbreaking or the discovery of the “new free agency,” this isolation-period rabble rousing has felt like Bauer’s first step towards going Full Curt Schilling.