Trevor Bauer has used his pitching prowess and his social-media savvy to become one of the most recognizable players in the game while pitching nearly his entire career in Cleveland and
Trevor Bauer has used his pitching prowess and his social-media savvy to become one of the most recognizable players in the game while pitching nearly his entire career in Cleveland and Cincinnati.
Now that he’s a free agent, he could take that attitude to a more high-profile stage, according to Bauer’s agent, Rachel Luba.
“He’s a fan of big markets, in terms of building his brand,” Luba said Wednesday night on WFAN. “I think he’s made it very clear and he’s good at it. He’s good at finding creative ways to build a brand. He built a pretty incredible brand, especially over, I think, the last year, after being in … an entirely Ohio market. So, if you can build the brand that he has in an Ohio market, imagine what he can do in a bigger market.”
Bauer has been outspoken on Twitter about many aspects of the game, including labor issues. He has criticized MLB commissioner Rob Manfred and the league’s handling of the COVID pandemic, as well as his own free agency.
“People see that he’s intelligent, and at least in the recent couple of years, he’s been more intentional about [things], he has a purpose for the things he’s said on Twitter,” Luba said. “He has a strategy and he knows what he’s doing, and I don’t think anybody who really understands the game and industry can’t see that. They totally get what he’s doing, and I think he’s great for the game. He has drawn interest in the game in an incredible way. He’s also encouraged other players to start speaking up and to have personalities, and I think we’ve seen what he’s been able to do.”
On top of that, Bauer is coming off an excellent — albeit abbreviated — 2020 season during which he had a league-best 1.73 ERA in 11 starts for the Reds. His performance in Cincinnati in 2019, when he had a 6.39 ERA in 10 outings after being traded by the Indians, will no doubt raise some concerns.
Still, with the Mets and Yankees both in need of starting pitching, Bauer would figure to be a prime target of either or both teams, though how the pandemic impacts teams’ finances this offseason remains to be seen.
Luba isn’t interested in hearing teams say they’re hurting financially.
“They already are, I think, trying to come out and make a stance and make a point that they’re crying poor and that they have no money to spend,” Luba said. “I don’t think that surprises anybody, and I think it’s very clear what they’re doing. I think when it’s all said and done, they’re going to spend money, but they’re going to try to scare players into thinking they won’t and try to get them at a discount, for sure.”
She made one exception: the Mets.
“I would say that the only team that doesn’t seem to have that or that doesn’t seem to be voicing that stance is the Mets with the new owner,” Luba said of Steve Cohen, who is set to take control of the organization in the coming weeks.
The hedge-fund billionaire has not been shy about promising an influx of money into the franchise, but that doesn’t necessarily mean Cohen — who is worth an estimated $14 billion — will immediately start signing free agents as soon as he’s in charge.
Going after Bauer would certainly make sense for Cohen and the Mets. And Bauer, who turns 30 in January, will make his presence felt wherever he ends up.
“You saw a lot of it during quarantine with the negotiations and him really vocalizing his thoughts, and they were very, I think, articulated thoughts and valid thoughts and feelings,” Luba said. “He encouraged a lot of other players to speak up, and he’s always been a big promoter of personalities in the game. Ultimately, I think he has the same goals as the owners, as MLB, as players, as fans – it’s ‘grow the game.’”