It’s probably not a great sign when MLB announces they’re trying to legislate a certain type of cheating out of the game, and everybody immediately locks onto one Dodgers pitcher as the main culprit … right?
Asking for a friend who’s worried about wasting $85 million.
Jeff Passan and others teamed up to break the news on Wednesday morning that Major League Baseball has decided to crack down on the use of foreign substance by its pitchers instead of embracing it. Violations are now subject to discipline, and those responsible can be plucked out by either a random sampling of baseballs, surprise inspections, or … spin-rate analysis.
Every baseball fan’s ears pricked up at that word, of course, and thus began the spamming of the mentions with Trevor Bauer references.
After all, the game’s biggest open secret is that Bauer professed to know exactly how the Houston Astros all managed to bump their spin rates, got haughty about it, then … increased his own rate astronomically in 2020 en route to a Cy Young.
Nobody questioned it? At least, not loudly? The world just let him brag about knowing the illicit solution, then suddenly displaying the same leap.
Now, there’s at least a chance that it’s all going to come back to bite Bauer this summer.
A spring training start isn’t the only thing Bauer’s going to do with one eye open this season.
Did Dodgers starter Trevor Bauer cheat to raise his spin rate?
Look, all we have for now is hard data that shows a monstrous increase, as well as Bauer’s years-long concern trolling about the Astros before he kicked his own stuff into high gear.
We don’t know if he did what he bragged about having full knowledge of. We just know the numbers indicated that something clearly changed prior to 2020.
For years, it was obvious MLB didn’t care much about what its pitchers were doing. When an exposé came out via an Angels clubbie’s lawsuit this winter, we collectively laughed at the Gerrit Cole quote about needing a stickiness boost. Doctoring a baseball is nothing new; we let a man famous for doing nothing but using foreign substances into the Hall of Fame in Gaylord Perry.
Leaving this whole thing very well alone was an option, but MLB instead chose an alternate path — after Bauer’s payday.
Safe to say, we are worried. Not about a suspension, necessarily, but about the fact that pre-2020 Bauer was no consistent great shakes.
Essentially, if the entire internet is laughing at you, you should at the very least be wary of your next steps.
The Dodgers have more than enough rotation depth to weather a Bauer regression (laughably so), but the fact that there’s a new reason for concern a week prior to Opening Day is not ideal.
Glad you didn’t trade David Price now, huh?