No, Yankees should not acquire Trevor Bauer for 2023


For about a week, we figured there was no need to write this piece. After all, we seek to answer Yankees fans’ most burning questions, and to respond to repeated queries that just won’t clear themselves until writers purposefully clear them.

“Who will be the Yankees’ Opening Day left fielder?” We’d love to answer! Or, without an answer, we’d love to speculate. “Which free agents will Yankees chase next offseason?” Hey, that’s fun! And, as a prompt, it creates a valuable itemized list!

But, “Will the Yankees sign Trevor Bauer?” Or, rather, when written in the voice of Trevor Bauer acolytes: “The Yankees need to sign Trevor Bauer!!!!!”? That one’s less fun, but at least there’s a definitive answer to it. A one-item itemized list. An emphatic exclamation point to place at the end of days’ worth of eyelid gunk swimming into view every time you close your eyes, interrupting a dream.

No, the Yankees should not add Trevor Bauer to a rotation that includes Gerrit Cole, Carlos Rodón, Luis Severino, Nestor Cortes and Frankie Montas. No, the Yankees should not trade Cortes for Bryan Reynolds and fill his spot with Bauer. No, the Yankees should not sign Bauer if the Dodgers cut him loose, nor should they trade for him if LA keeps him on their 40-man, absorbing the $22.5 million owed to him either way, which at least makes it a question for some, but … no.

The Yankees should not add Trevor Bauer to their roster, even for free, as the Dodgers are left holding the bag. There is no room. There is no need. There is a hell of a lot wrong with them if they pull it off.

Yankees should not acquire Dodgers’ Trevor Bauer

The on-field reasons not to acquire Bauer are numerous. He has not pitched since midway through the 2021 season, when allegations against him abruptly shut down his first campaign with the Dodgers. That is an awful lot of rust for a championship contender to attempt to strip off.

Long before recent controversies, Bauer’s career has been marked by inconsistency, as well as a well-documented reliance on sticky substances to change his trajectory; after years of disavowing the Astros for using the stuff, his spin rate rose high during his Cy Young year, then plummeted post-ban. Weeks later, Bauer was out of the league for other reasons entirely. If you hate Gerrit Cole’s transformation, you’ll despise Bauer’s.

His 12-6, 2.21 ERA season in 2018 was his only full season of documented, authentic stardom. His 2020 Cy Young campaign, coming off a 6.39 ERA in 10 starts after being dealt to Cincinnati in 2019, was suspect at best. His 2021 season started strong, before he was felled by accusations of sexual assault.

The details are abhorrent, but Bauer’s defense centered around the accuser “consenting” to actions that occurred while she was unconscious. It’s not worth rehashing in full, but only to say that a court of law’s ruling and an MLB arbiter’s decision do not erase actions, which are not in dispute. The only legal argument regards cloudiness and circumstance.

Bauer was an average-to-good pitcher before he lost a year and a half to a battle with terrible extracurriculars. The Yankees’ rotation is among the game’s best. They could use insurance. They would be foolish to surrender any assets whatsoever for Bauer, who would slot in as a lightning rod of a sixth starter.

The Dodgers’ clubhouse alienated him long ago. Why would Aaron Judge and the Yankees, in their pursuit of excellence, welcome him in to compete for an already-filled role?