Trevor Bauer Accuses Indians of 'Character Assassination' in Arbitration Hearing

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistFebruary 14, 2019

Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Trevor Bauer throws against the Chicago White Sox during the first inning of a baseball game Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2018, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

Starting pitcher Trevor Bauer expressed his displeasure Thursday with what he felt were unwarranted shots taken against him by the Cleveland Indians during their arbitration hearing.

Bauer won his arbitration case Wednesday and was awarded $13 million, but he told reporters that the Indians attempted to tear him down near the end of the process.

"They spent the last 10 minutes of the case trying a character assassination. I learned that giving to charity is a bad thing. I learned that agreeing with someone on a podcast just for the sake of argument that I was worth $10.5 million, and should be the definitive answer why I'm not worth $13 [million]."

Despite his comments, Bauer said he was "unemotional" about the process and that it didn't change the way he views the Indians.

Bauer noted that while he enjoyed the hearing overall, he felt the Indians crossed the line:

"You never know how the character assassination plays, and considering that's what ended it, it kind of put a black mark on what I thought was a really argued case on both sides. There's not room for that. Let's just stick to the numbers. Let the numbers tell the story. You don't need to bring character assassination into it, especially for charitable campaigns."

The 28-year-old righty had a career year in 2018, as he went 12-6 over 28 appearances (27 starts) with a 2.21 ERA, 1.09 WHIP and 221 strikeouts in 175.1 innings. Bauer was named an All-Star for the first time, and he finished sixth in the American League Cy Young voting.

Bauer had never posted an ERA better than 4.18 in six previous MLB seasons with the Indians and Arizona Diamondbacks.

According to ESPN.com, Bauer won $6.525 million in his arbitration case last year against the Indians and used $100,000 of it to donate to charities as part of a campaign he called "The 69 Days of Giving."

Bauer said that while the Indians tried to make his charitable endeavor seem negative, the arbitrator viewed it differently: 

"They don't mention that I gave to 68 charities or that I donated more than $100,000. Or that the whole point of the campaign was to bring awareness to all those charities, past the money I was giving them. Nothing about that. They just tried to say that I was bad for donating or for running that campaign. Painfully, the arbitrator didn't see it as a negative."

Bauer has been open about his status with the Indians and whether he figures into their future plans.

In November, Bauer addressed trade rumors and said the Indians should wait until 2020 to trade him due to what his surplus value is likely to be at that point. Bauer also said the Indians are "most likely not going to be able to sign" him when he's eligible for free agency in 2021.

It is unclear how much longer the Indians will have Bauer on their roster, but he is locked in for at least 2019. Having one of Major League Baseball's top starters back in the fold makes Cleveland an overwhelming favorite to win the weak AL Central.

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