(670 The Score) The best free agent available this offseason remains unsigned, as ace Trevor Bauer continues to methodically consider his options in yet another slow-moving market.
In a video released on his YouTube channel Sunday, Bauer detailed what does and doesn’t matter to him in the free agency process. A fair deal of it is what you might expect, and Bauer freely admitted money is certainly a big factor – “I want to be fairly compensated for my value,” he said. So what else matters?
“I want to be happy, I want to win, I want a team that’s open to having a discussion with me about pitching every fourth day,” said Bauer, who turns 30 on Sunday.
It’s the end of that comment that might be the most intriguing. Bauer has shared his desire to pitch every fourth day previously, as it was a topic of conversation amid the pandemic-shortened 60-game season that caused chaos for many rosters. Now, Bauer has further explained his vision as he comes off a 2020 season in which he won the National League Cy Young award for the Reds by posting a 1.73 ERA and 0.80 WHIP in 11 starts.
“I want a team that’s open to having an honest discussion with me about pitching every fourth day,” Bauer said. “There’s been a lot of talk about this in the past like, ‘Oh, he thinks he can do this or it’s all about him’ or whatever the case is. And that’s not true at all. So to dispel some of those myths around this idea that I have, I feel like I would be a better pitcher pitching every fourth day rather than every fifth day. Why do I feel that? Well, I collect data on myself every day, and I can see the trends of how my body is trending. How do I recover after a start? How do I recover after a bullpen? How about a lift? How about conditioning sessions? How do I recover in the offseason? When am I at my peak? All these different things. And I think based on that data, the data tells me that I would be as good or better pitching every fourth day.
“Now, that’s on my personal side. But again, viewing this whole thing through a partnership side, I’ve thought through a lot of the things people say on, ‘Well, how would it affect the other people on the staff? What effect would it have on the front office and coaching decisions?’ All these different things. So I don’t ever want to take away from my fellow players’ ability to go out and do their job to the best of their ability. Because ultimately, for whatever team I’m on, that’s what’s most important.”
Another key factor for Bauer in his decision is landing with a team that will allow him to utilize his data-driven approach in his training regimen and preparations. That’s an important aspect of his happiness and the type freedom he wants a team to give him in their partnership. Bauer spoke of how the lack of that in past stops in his baseball journey has left him upset.
“I want to be happy,” Bauer said. “I’ve spent a lot of time in my life being unhappy as a person, as a baseball player, as a teammate and stuff like that, with different situations that I’ve been in – whether it’s my high school team, whether it’s minor leagues, pro ball, college whatever the case is. I’ve had a wide range of different experiences.
“I don’t want to go back to being miserable playing the game I love. So the things that are going to make me happy, I want a team that’s going to accept me doing things training-wise, baseball-wise, which is the most important thing, the way that I go about them. I’ve been an outcast at some points in the past because of the data-driven approach that I take, because of the training that I use. I’ve gotten pushback from teams on that side of things.”
As for his desire to win, Bauer emphasized that he wants to join a team dedicated to winning a championship and not just reaching the playoffs. To him, that means addressing needs at the trade deadline and continuing to add in future offseasons.
“I want a chance to win the World Series,” Bauer said. “Winning is super important to me. I’ve been in the World Series. It’s one of the best experiences of my life.”
Bauer also shot down the theory that he only wants to play in a major market and big city.
“What I’m interested in is connecting with the baseball fans, and there are baseball fans in every market,” he said. “It’s not as much to me about the lights and I want to be in New York or Chicago because there are huge media networks there and I can do this and that, whatever the case is. To me, it’s about connecting with baseball fans. I can do that through my social media channels.”