The Cleveland Indians acquired top young pitcher Trevor Bauer Tuesday night in a three-way trade that sent the baseball world spinning.
CBS' Jon Heyman had the news:
indians receive bauer, albers, shaw and stubbs. reds get choo and donald. dbacks get gregorius, sipp and lars anderson.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) December 12, 2012
Shin-Soo Choo's name is the one that jumps off the page at everyone, but Bauer's name can't be overlooked either. He was selected No. 3 in the 2011 Major League Baseball draft by the Arizona Diamondbacks.
He went 12-2 with a 2.42 ERA last season between Double-A and Triple-A and had 157 strikeouts in 130.1 innings.
He has top-of-the-rotation stuff, and he has yet to reach his full potential. That makes this deal a bit of an unknown for the Indians, but the upside is major for a team that's seeking to find a more successful path next season.
Let's look at three more things about Bauer that Indians fans must know.
Interesting Workout Routine
According to ESPN.com's Jim Caple, Bauer utilizes a unique, and slightly bizarre, workout routine. This first came to light when the Diamondbacks drafted him in 2011, but Caple highlights it well:
The foul pole-to-foul pole long toss is not the most interesting part of Bauer's warm-up routine, though. Before the rookie hopeful steps on the rubber for his warm-up pitches between innings, he channels Happy Gilmore by taking a step or two from behind the mound and firing the ball as hard as he can toward home plate.
Caple also mentions that:
Bauer's long toss routine begins in one corner of the field, and he gradually works his way to the other corner with high, arcing throws that he says do not place much stress on his arm. When he gets to the corner, he works his way back, throwing the ball harder and harder as he progresses.
This wouldn't really be a big deal, but Bauer isn't a very big guy. At 6'1'' and 185 pounds, he reminds many of Tim Lincecum in stature. It's hard to believe that someone's arm can take that much punishment.
You can look at this in a few ways. In Caple's story, Bauer mentions that he's been doing this since he was 14 years old. If he's used to it, and it obviously works, no harm, no foul.
But if Bauer gets hurt, you can bet that people will turn toward this as one of the main culprits.
One thing is for sure, though. You won't find many professional baseball pitchers who are tossing the ball from foul pole to foul pole before the game. It makes Bauer more remarkable than his ability clearly shows.
Some may think that Bauer's routine will wear him out, but it really just sets him apart in a completely unique way.
Major League Experience
Take the word experience with a grain of salt here, but it's experience nonetheless.
Bauer started four games for the Diamondbacks last season, but it didn't go well, and he was eventually sent back down to Triple-A. He racked up a 6.06 ERA and went 1-2, but he did rack up 17 strikeouts in 16.1 innings.
You have to expect Bauer to bounce back as he becomes more mature. Now that he's gotten his first taste of major league action, that could bode well for his prospects moving forward.
It also means that he could be in the Indians rotation immediately. He could fit in behind Justin Masterson and Ubaldo Jimenez as a possible upgrade to the rest of the Indians young rotation.
Don't take Bauer's poor start to his major league career to heart. It's not always easy to adjust. With his stuff and feel for the game, he still has considerable potential.
Free-Agent Eligible in 2019
The value surrounding top-flight prospects has a lot to do with potential, but it also has a lot to do with team control, especially for a low-budget baseball team.
Lucky for the Indians, Bauer isn't going anywhere anytime soon.
The Indians new prospect isn't arbitration eligible until 2016, and he can't become a free agent until 2019. That gives Cleveland plenty of time to build around him and develop him into the pitcher that he has the potential to be.
Getting rid of a guy like Choo is always going to be a big deal, but it's hard to tell if he would have re-signed with the Indians after this season. Rather than lose him for nothing, the Indians were able to flip him and get a controllable guy like Bauer in return.
This may not pay dividends right away, but it definitely could down the line.