As the dust settles following a drama-filled trade deadline, the next few days will represent a new beginning for those who were traded.
That includes Trevor Bauer, whose tumultuous tenure with the Indians came to an end Tuesday night when he was shipped to the Cincinnati Reds in a three-team trade involving the San Diego Padres.
Perhaps no single player needs the fresh start more than Bauer. His final hours in Cleveland were marred by one of the most bizarre incidents we’ve seen on the field.
Before manager Terry Francona could take the baseball from him during Sunday’s game against the Kansas City Royals, Bauer turned and heaved it over the center-field wall at Kauffman Stadium. It was a clear act of defiance, and there were consequences. Bauer earned an on-field scolding from Francona, a fine from MLB and in the process likely sealed his exit from Cleveland.
Now, Bauer says he’s determined to learn from those mistake as he seeks to alter his reputation in Cincinnati.
“A better person, a better player”
Upon joining his new teammates for their series in Atlanta, Bauer said many of the things you’d want to hear from a player who’s ruffled feathers.
“I’ll try to learn from my past and be a better person, a better player, everything,” Bauer said. “You grow from there.”
Bauer also says this week has reminded him that “he’s human”
“It’s nice to feel that sometimes,” he said. “I spend so much time thinking and I don’t generally have, like, strong emotional reactions to very much. I definitely had some strong emotional reactions this past week. So it’s good to feel human. Obviously I don’t want to repeat that.”
On the surface anyway, Bauer appeared reflective and focused on changing his ways in Cincinnati. But for many, Bauer’s actions will speak louder than his words.
That’s because we’ve been here before with Bauer. There have been run-ins with the Houston Astros. He’s accused the Indians of character assassination. He’s been involved in uncomfortable social media exchanges. There’s a lot of room yet for him to grow, and a lot he needs to prove.
A clean slate in Cincinnati
Bauer will not be able to undo the past. He will not have an opportunity to author a more graceful exit from Cleveland.
He will, however, have an opportunity to start with a clean slate in the eyes of Reds manager David Bell.
“No, there’s not,” Bell said on whether Bauer’s final Cleveland act is cause for concern in Cincinnati. “I don’t know Trevor yet. I’ve had many people reach out with very encouraging things about Trevor being added to our team. I’m really looking forward to getting to know him. I do believe he’s going to be a great fit on this team and the culture that we have, not only as a pitcher but just what he brings from a competitive standpoint.”
We’ll get to see what the first chapter of Bauer’s Reds career looks like this weekend. He’s scheduled to make his Reds debut against the Braves at SunTrust Park on Saturday.
Bauer will enter with a 9-8 record and a 3.79 ERA in 24 starts. He leads MLB in innings pitched (156 1/3) and is fifth in strikeouts (185).
It will be interesting to see if the Reds reel in Bauer’s workload, or turn him loose in hopes that his pitching will do the talking from here on out.
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