Monday, January 11, 2021

Dissecting Trevor Bauer’s Free Agency Wants & Needs


Trevor Bauer is the top available free agent starting pitcher on the market and has vowed to do things differently this offseason in his approach to his own free agency. Rather than doing things like most/every free agent available before him, Trevor and his agent Rachel Luba are trying to control more of the flow of information themselves rather than letting rumors and “fake news” dictate the narrative. Personally, I love this approach because through his social media platforms, Twitter and YouTube specifically, Trevor can engage the fans and keep them in the loop. It is also fun to watch him and Luba replying to Jon Heyman calling out his inaccuracies and falsehoods because who doesn’t like to see that? To take that one step further, who wouldn’t enjoy watching Heyman having to credit me with breaking the news on where Bauer signs, and for how much? You want to do things different, then be different. Chris Cotillo breaking the Doug Fister to the Washington Nationals was different, watching all the national Baseball writers having to credit a High School kid was different. Selling yourself on YouTube and creating your brand is also different, but which one is more different? I guess that’s Trevor’s decision, Day 14 of me asking him to allow me to break his news comes tomorrow on Twitter regardless though.


Bauer released a video on his YouTube channel last night outlining what was important to him in his free agency search, as well as what may not be as important as much to him. I took notes and will cover as much as I can here in this article, but I encourage you to check out the video below and I encourage you to subscribe to his channel, even if he doesn’t end up signing with your favorite team. It’s a great follow and it’s the inside information and content that I think we, the MLB fans, have been clamoring for forever.


First of all, Trevor wearing a shirt that says “Spin Rate” with a spinning top in the middle was the perfect shirt for the video and the perfect way to get his brand out there a little more, in my opinion. I’m an analytical and advanced metrics guy, plus I make t-shirts on the side, so this one touched me personally as a fan. It made me want to buy one, whether he comes to the Bronx or not, and that, in a nutshell, is what Bauer wants to accomplish with his brand. Kudos to him, it’s working.


Trevor wants to build a partnership with his next team. Trevor wants a team that is willing to let Trevor be Trevor, but he also wants a team that is willing to listen to him to garner ideas, philosophies, etc. because he thinks he can bring a lot to any team that he signs with. How can you disagree with that given his history, which is something he also specifically touched on in his video. His performance, his durability, his increase in spin rate, etc. were all specifically touched on in the video, as well as his ability to grow his brand, to be able to vlog to his fans, to be able to help people through charities (HOPE WEEK for the win, am I right?), and to help his teammates get the recognition that they deserve. Trevor used being an inspiration for kids and getting his teammates to their favorite concerts as examples of this. Trevor wants to be a great teammate and grow with everyone, which spits in the face of the narrative that he and former teammate Gerrit Cole being on the same causing a ruckus in the Bronx. Trevor has stated multiple times that he has no issues with Cole and that playing on the same team as the Yankees workhorse would not be an issue for him, or for the rest of the team. Trevor is a genuine guy and I believe him. Could he just be saying that to keep the dream alive that the Yankees and their checkbook are still in the fold potentially? Sure, but again… Trevor seems like a genuine guy. If he had an issue with Cole I don’t think he would go out of the way to trash him, but at the same time I think his responses would have been much different when asked as well.


Trevor outlined what is important to him, and what isn’t so important to him, in the video, but stated that he didn’t want his “important” list to be construed as a demand list. Trevor mentioned multiple times that it was a preference of his but continued to stress that this would be a partnership between him and his new team. What isn’t so important to Trevor is geography and the size of the media market that he would be entering via free agency. Trevor knows he can build his brand on Twitter and YouTube whether he pitched in the Bronx or whether he pitched in Bismarck, North Dakota. Trevor has proven this, we are all sitting here talking about him this winter after being drafted by a small market team in the Arizona Diamondbacks before making a name for himself in equally smaller markets in Cleveland and Cincinnati.


What is important to Trevor is his happiness. Trevor stated that he has spent a lot of time, both his personal life and his baseball life, unhappy and that he doesn’t want to waste more of his time staying that way. Kudos to him. Life is short, way too short, and every second you spend unhappy is a second that you won’t get back. Trevor also wants a team that is willing to accept the way Trevor goes about himself and the way he goes about getting ready for the game. Trevor mentioned how he was told he shouldn’t throw weighted balls by the Diamondbacks because he would throw his arm out, and how that now most pitchers throw with weighted balls. Bauer wanted to emphasize that this didn’t mean that he was necessarily un-coachable, but instead emphasized the partnership with any potential team he signed with. Bauer is open to ideas from his next pitching coach and organization but wants it to be a two-way revolving door with the organization and pitching coach also willing to listen and potentially implement some of his ideas. I think this is where the Yankees may gain a slight advantage, given that former Indians pitching coach and current Yankees pitching coach Matt Blake know Bauer very well.


Trevor knows he has a finite number of years to play at the MLB level and he wants the opportunity to not only compete for a World Series every year, which he would get in the Bronx, but he also wants to win a World Series. In my opinion, the Yankees window to win the World Series is two years, subject to change. After two years the contracts of Aaron Judge, Gleyber Torres, etc. begin getting expensive through arbitration and that will dictate how long the window stays open. Adding Bauer, depending on the length of the contract of course, potentially extends that window accordingly.


Bauer also wants to at least have a discussion about pitching every fourth day, stating that he tracks everything about his body and his performance. Bauer thinks he can be even better pitching every fourth day, which in a lot of ways would work best for the New York Yankees. The Yankees need innings and Bauer pitching every fourth day instead of every fifth day could solve a lot of problems in the Bronx. Bauer specifically touched on how him pitching every fourth day could potentially allow a pitcher who pitches better on five- or six-days rest (check Masahiro Tanaka’s stats with the extra day of rest for an example. We all know he prefers to come back here and could presumably be had for “cheap”) or a pitcher on a team-imposed innings limit (Clarke Schmidt, Domingo German, Deivi Garcia, and eventually Luis Severino come to mind immediately) could benefit from having Bauer pitch more often.


What it will come down to is money. Bauer has a pretty good idea what he is worth, and he wants to be compensated fairly for it, not only for his projections into 2021 and beyond, but from his past as well. Bauer noted and recognized that he has had good seasons and down seasons, but his durability and uptick in spin rate, etc. This is where I believe it gets dicey for the Yankees, specifically. Is the mandate to get under the $210 million luxury tax threshold posturing, or is it a real mandate? I am leaning towards the former and not the latter, but unfortunately, I know just as much (or as little) as the rest of us. I do know one thing though, if the Yankees want him here and if Bauer wants to pitch for this club, they can get creative and work something out. Defer money, whatever needs to be done.


We learned a lot by listening to Bauer, more than we ever learned from Jon Heyman tweets this offseason, so I compiled them into a PROS and CONS list specifically linked to my favorite team, the New York Yankees.




  • Yankees HOPE WEEK
  • A seemingly fun, young(er) clubhouse based on the love of the game and unity.
  • A media market and fan base that would embrace Trevor’s ideologies on the game in terms of social media, analytics, and the desire to win a World Series every single year.
  • Former Indians pitching coach Matt Blake is the pitching coach in the Bronx




  • I don’t think the Yankees will meet the fiscal needs of Trevor outlined in his video so that he can continue to grow his brand. The $210 million mandate is real, whether they say it out loud or not.


Will the Yankees sign Trevor Bauer this offseason? In my opinion, the only thing keeping them from signing him will be his fiscal demands. I think given a two-year championship window that the tax shouldn’t be a concern, especially with the new CBA presumably coming after this season (and all the fiscal unknowns that come with it), but I am not in those war room discussions. I personally would buy a Bauer shirt/jersey day one if he signed in the Bronx and I think a ton of others would, but none of us know what’s going on inside the mind of Hal Steinbrenner. One thing I think we all know for a fact, though, is that the Yankees need pitching and Bauer is the best pitcher available. Bauer would make every single player on that team better and he would make every decision that Matt Blake, manager Aaron Boone, and GM Brian Cashman makes that much easier. It is the perfect storm, and the storm is here, now it’s up to the Yankees to walk into the eye of that storm and grab the most coveted piece on the free agent market… you know, like George would have done.


Get Greedy, Get Bauer.


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