Trevor Bauer accuses Indians of 'character assassination' during salary arbitration hearing

Trevor Bauer won his arbitration hearing with the Cleveland Indians last week, getting the $13 million contract he asked for instead of the $11 million the Indians had offered him. But Bauer, ever outspoken, still isn’t happy.

In the aftermath of the hearing, he’s accusing his team of “character assassination.” Specifically, Bauer says the Indians made the case that he is — in Bauer’s word — “a terrible human being.” Furthermore, the Indians reportedly argued that Bauer’s use of social media is one of the reasons he didn’t deserve the extra $2 million. Bauer often gets in social media battles with baseball fans and recently made headlines for a days-long tiff with a Houston Astros fan that left her complaining that Bauer “harassed her.”

Bauer aired his grievances to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale — and it’s quite a list of grievances, everything from the character assassination to the fact that Indians president Chris Antonetti and general manager Mike Chernoff didn’t attend the hearing even though Bauer says he sent them formal invitations. He said that was “disrespectful.” But he maintains he has no ill-will toward the Indians.

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Here’s what Bauer had to say, in his own words, via USA Today:

“They spent the last 10 minutes of the case trying a character-assassination,” Bauer said. “I learned that giving to charity is a bad thing. I learned that agreeing with someone on a podcast just for the sake of argument that I was worth $10.5 million, and should be the definitive answer why I’m not worth $13 [million].”

What else did they say?

“Basically, that I’m a terrible human being,” Bauer said, “which was interesting on their part. I thought that giving to charity, especially because they didn’t mention it was a charitable campaign, just mentioned the name.”

Trevor Bauer won his salary arbitration case against the Indians, but he’s still not happy. (Getty Images)
Trevor Bauer won his salary arbitration case against the Indians, but he’s still not happy. (Getty Images)

The charity in question was Bauer’s “69 Days of Giving” campaign he launched last year. What you’re going to read next will prove that Bauer likes to have a little fun with these salary showdowns.  Last year, he originally wanted to be paid $6,420,969.69 because “it accurately reflects my place in the salary structure relative to other athletes” and not at all because it’s one long marijuana and sex reference. Bauer eventually won his case against the Indians at $6,525,000, but decided to give away some of the money in excess of the $6,420,969.69 he originally wanted. So he started “69 Days of Giving” and gave out $420.69 daily to different charities.

The Indians clearly didn’t think this was funny (or as beneficial) as Bauer did, via USA Today:

“They don’t mention that I gave to 68 charities or that I donated more than $100,000. Or that the whole point of the campaign was to bring awareness to all those charities, past the money I was giving them. Nothing about that. They just tried to say that I was bad for donating or for running that campaign. Painfully, the arbitrator didn’t see it as a negative.”

Bauer didn’t address the Twitter part of this, but ESPN’s Buster Olney reports it was also part of Cleveland’s case against Bauer:


Bauer’s other big complaint was that his GM and team president weren’t there, even though he says he went to great lengths to invite them to his “big event.”

“I sent them a nice ‘Plus One’ invite, a postcard, designed it all myself,” Bauer said. “It said, “You are formally invited to the attend the arbitration hearing between Trevor Bauer and the Cleveland Indians. The date, the location, you and plus-one, the whole deal. And they decided not to come.

“That was what I was most hurt about, you know. I had this big event, a custom suit, I dressed up, and they didn’t show up. That’s disrespect. Unbelievable.”

Keep in mind that with Bauer everything can be a bit of show. He could be trolling everybody with these complaints — or he could be earnest about everything. This was what Bauer tweeted after his arbitration hearing, which you’ll notice has a different tone than his recent comments.


Bauer has said in the past that he never wants to sign a long-term contract with an MLB team. Instead, he’d rather sign one-year deals every year. It goes back to a bet Bauer made with a friend — that if he ever signs a long-term deal, his friend would get to shoot him in the testicles with a paintball gun from 10 feet away. It’s a story he originally told on the Yahoo Sports MLB podcast. He calls it a “pride bet.”

If the last two years are indication, it seems like Trevor Bauer’s annual salary negotiations could be a “big event” for years to come.

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Mike Oz is a writer at Yahoo Sports. Contact him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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