Baseball fans in the know are very much aware how easy of a target Trevor Bauer is when it comes to controversy and criticism.
Then again, the Los Angeles Dodgers star hasn’t exactly done himself favors.
From online harassment, to calling out the league that employs him, to constantly inserting himself into futile arguments on social media, this is what happens when you’re constantly rolling the dice.
Whether fair or not, this is how it goes. We love to point fingers at other players who get themselves into off-the-field snafus and say, “Well, you probably shouldn’t have done that!” … but why aren’t Dodgers fans saying the same about Bauer?
It’s now come full circle on the right-hander.
After calling out the Houston Astros pitchers for doctoring baseballs to their advantage and claiming he knew “exactly” what they were doing, Bauer went ahead and increased the spin rate on his fastball to become the highest in MLB in 2020, resulting in a Cy Young campaign.
Dodgers starter Trevor Bauer was “singled out” in MLB’s ball inspection because he begged to be.
It wouldn’t be a surprise if other pitchers were the subject of the same (or similar) investigation, but Bauer is a headline-grabbing name and has a lot attached to him when it comes to this subject. And this is about the 10th time he’s been making unsavory headlines since landing in LA?
Shouldn’t the Dodgers have realized that when it came down to them and the always-wrong New York Mets in the Bauer sweepstakes that this maybe wasn’t the greatest idea?
Right out of the gate, Bauer had the “merchandise error” on his website suggesting that he’d be signing with the Mets. At the introductory press conference with the Dodgers he refused to answer questions about his online behavior, claiming that “it wasn’t the right forum.”
Then came spring training, when he was pitching with one eye closed and was warned about a uniform violation by MLB for exposing his “logo.” Surprise, he publicly blasted the league for that, too.
Should we get into his performance? It hasn’t entirely been otherworldly for the amount of money he’s making. His first start in Colorado, though he had a no-hitter through six innings, ended with a disastrous 1/3 of an inning where he allowed two homers and four earned runs. In Oakland, though he was solid, an untimely late home run surrendered to Matt Chapman opened the door for the A’s, who won the game in extras.
We can point to his 20 strikeouts and 0.69 WHIP as two promising signs, but the fact of the matter is that we have no idea what to expect from the right-hander, who, outside of his masterful 11-start 2020, has an incredibly inconsistent body of work since debuting in 2012.
If he’d been rolling through the league for years, perhaps fans would be able to look past how much of a distraction he is (and has been). But when the production is a big unknown and he’s getting paid at least $40 million for the next two years, the Dodgers have every right to experience a little buyer’s remorse since there’s no light at the end of the tunnel.