In an interview with Sports Time Ohio, Trevor Bauer wasn’t shy about letting his new fans in Cincinnati know that he’s happy there. What he also did was took a direct shot across the bow at the Cleveland Indians managerial and coaching staff, saying he doesn’t “miss much” about playing in Cleveland.
I feel it’s necessary to clarify that statement up front, as Trevor himself did on Twitter shortly after his own game ended. It could easily be taken out of context that he’s saying he doesn’t like the anything about Cleveland, or something about the team or city as a whole. It would feed nicely into Cleveland’s “us against the world” mentality, but it doesn’t appear to be true here. It’s pure manipulative click-baitery to suggest otherwise.
It appears, from an outsider’s perspective, that he was speaking directly about analytics and feeling comfortable with the coaching staff in Cincinnati compared to the information he received while in Cleveland. It’s no secret that he and manager Terry Francona didn’t get along, and there were hints in The MVP Machine that he wasn’t too fond of former pitching coach Mickey Callaway and his “my way or the highway” attitude, either.
Maybe he’s right — after all, no American League team bunts more than Terry Francona’s Indians, and there appears to be a tangible growth in Indians pitchers after Bauer took them under his wing. There may be some kind of analytical gap between the forward-thinking front office and the conduit of its manager. I can’t objectively pretend that I don’t have issues with how Tito handles situations that seem like they could be much better handled by utilizing some good old fashioned numbers.
But at the same time, no American League team wins as much as Terry Francona’s Indians, either. And Trevor was suspiciously quiet when he had his one and only great season in Cleveland in 2018. But when things started to turn south, and teams stopped swinging at Bauer’s best stuff, he got frustrated and never got back to the 2.21-ERA pitcher he was last season — and he eventually chucked a ball over the outfield wall because of it. When he succeeds, it’s just him out there working hard and dominating with the numbers at his disposal. When he’s not, it’s someone else’s fault.
If anything can be made of Trevor’s comments today — the same day that Franmil Reyes hit a game-tying three-run home run in the bottom of the ninth with two strikes — it’s that everyone is probably better off with him in out of Cleveland.