Cleveland has officially found a new home for Jake Bauers. The first baseman will be sent to the Seattle Mariners in exchange for a player to be named later or cash at a later date.
Bauers, 25, played 160 games in Cleveland and wasn’t good in many of them outside of one magical game in Detroit where he hit for the cycle. His Cleveland career finished with a .220/.308/.356 slash and 14 home runs.
After spending all of 2020 working at the team’s alternate site in Lake County, Bauers made the 2021 Opening Day roster, mostly due to his lack of option years remaining. He had his worst offensive stretch ever this season, slashing just .180/.277/.280 in 43 games. His walk rate remained a steady 10.6% and his strikeout rate was a career-low 23.9%, hinting that maybe there was something there in his offensive game worth holding onto. But he never hit the ball with any kind of authority, and as a result, was designated for assignment on June 5 and replaced by Bobby Bradley on the 26-man roster.
From the beginning, the hope was that Bauers could build on the potential he showed with the Rays and morph into a super versatile player who could hit 20 home runs, play anywhere in the field, walk a lot, and steal bases. He did virtually none of those things in Cleveland before his departure.
You can’t say Cleveland didn’t try to make it work with Bauers. After bringing him over as part of the trade that sent third baseman Yandy Díaz and prospect Cole Sulser to the Rays, Bauers was given 117 games in 2019 between the outfield and first base and he was a well below-average hitter throughout. Following his disappointing debut season, there were concerns about his routines off the field to prepare for games, resulting in a post-season meeting that Terry Francona described as “very productive.”
For anyone wondering, the Indians had a long, "really productive" exit interview with Jake Bauers this week.— Zack Meisel (@ZackMeisel) October 3, 2019
Terry Francona: pic.twitter.com/Td6zDuKmqb
There was always a chance that Bauers cleared waivers and could be sent to Triple-A, but still being only 25 and available for virtually nothing to a team who wished to make a claim, it was inevitable that someone like the perpetually rebuilding Mariners would come along and snag him.
Bauers will have his chance at revenge this weekend as his new team travels to Cleveland for a three-game series.