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MLB teams are smarter than Trevor Bauer thinks they are


After yet another Spring in which Trevor Bauer posts pics of himself at Spring Training and tries to convince us all that he has just tons of support and interest among MLB teams who want to hire him but can’t, Bauer has finally been signed — by a Japanese travel team called Asian Breeze.

According to the Asian Breeze website, the team describes itself as providing “opportunities for baseball players, from children to young people, who will create the next generation of Japanese baseball players, to think and act on their own through overseas challenges, and to develop ‘independence’ to grow themselves.”

Asian Breeze doesn’t play in Japan, however — the club is based in Phoenix. Bauer will play games with MLB-affiliated teams and aim for a professional contract, according to the team.

“It is a perfect environment for players to compete against players who are in the development process of the MLB organization, learn about their current position, and grow their baseball career at an explosive pace,” per the Asian Breeze (h/t Google Translate).

All that definitely sounds like a good idea for Bauer, especially the part about growing through challenges. If you know anything about the former Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher, he feels that he has been very challenged, professionally, ever since Major League Baseball suspended him for 194 games — the longest suspension in major league history. The Asian Breeze signing seems underwhelming for a guy who offered to play for the league minimum just to get back on to an MLB team. And is definitely a blow to Bauer’s plan to convince some hapless big league front office to sign him.

Bauer, in his quest to return to MLB, even went so far as to give an interview to the LA Times this Spring to prove how much he’s grown and changed as a result of being accused of abuse and sexual misconduct by *checks notes* now four women. (Bauer has denied any wrongdoing.)

The gist of the interview was that staff writer Bill Shaikin role-played an MLB owner asking Bauer some hard questions and, while there were a few things I wish Shaikin would have countered with — the testimony of the SART nurse at one of Bauer’s legal hearings, for example — Shaikin did an admirable job in the face of a man who is convinced he’s been wrongfully accused. Notably, Bauer discussed “evidence that was kept from” himself and his legal team, which includes a video of one of his accusers, Lindsay Hill, that he claims proves his innocence.

Here’s how that exchange went down:

Bauer: “Also, there was evidence that was kept from us that has been extremely useful in showing what actually happened. Specifically, there is video that was taken by Lindsey Hill that showed exactly what she looked like when she left my place. It was not turned over to us during the original DVRO (domestic violence restraining order) hearing. Had I not sued her, I never would have had that video to prove my innocence.

Shaikin: I want to step in here. MLB had access to that video during their investigation. I have read that, in your arbitration hearing, that video was extensively discussed. The rulings that the judge made in the case against Lindsey Hill, before it was settled, brought front and center the idea that actually there was no judicial conclusion. His quote was: “The state court proceedings (the restraining order hearing) did not necessarily decide that Bauer did not batter or sexually assault Hill.” He said: “Notwithstanding Hill’s consent to some form of rough sex, Bauer engaged in acts while Hill was unconscious, when she was physically and legally unable to give consent.”

At that point, Bauer’s agent, Rachel Luba, stepped in and went back and forth with Skaikin for a bit. Then:

Shaikin: If innocence is what you are really after, then you could have gone to trial.

Bauer: To finish up what I was saying: Yes, MLB had the video. It was part of MLB’s hearing, and I can’t speak publicly about that. In order to get that out and speak publicly about that, I had to sue to get it.

Shaikin makes a good point that everything Bauer claims points to his innocence was available to MLB during his disciplinary hearing, at which point Bauer presumably had the chance to argue his innocence and present all his evidence. They suspended him anyway.

Bauer also speaks to all the “mistakes” he’s made with the media, saying, “In my interactions with media over the years, I’ve made the situation a lot more difficult for a lot of people. I could have made things easier for the Dodgers, for the league, for my teammates.” Bauer also claimed that his combative tone with the media was due to childhood bullying. “I’ve done a lot of reflection over the past three years and tried to figure out why I responded that way. I think it was because I never really had a voice as a kid. I was bullied a lot. My life got significantly better when I started sticking up for myself, speaking up and fighting back. I let that play out too long and didn’t adjust the way I operate. So, any time someone would say something negative, I would just fight back.”

You might read this and say, “Wow, maybe Trevor Bauer is doing a lot of soul-searching during his time off. Maybe he really does want to change.” But wait! Would it change your mind if I told you that, just a few short days later, Bauer sent his attorneys after MLB reporter Craig Calcaterra?

Bauer probably thought he came off pretty slick in his time with Shaikin. After all, he reminds us in the interview what a smart guy he is. Not long after the Shaikin interview, Bauer took part in a “Bloggers vs. Bauer” hit with Barfstool Sports and, well, let’s just say it’s not great when a blogger is able to get two hits and a walk off of a pro baseball player who is insisting that his past is the only thing keeping him from the majors. I can’t imagine any reason why Bauer would post this video, other than a “See! People like me! Some people like me!” attempt. To which, I would have to say I agree. There are lots of people who like Trevor Bauer. They aren’t men I’d ever want to be alone in a room with, but they are out there.

I don’t know who Bauer gets his advice from, but he needs to listen to someone else. Bauer’s only move, no matter how smart he thinks he is, is repeating that he’s in the best shape of his life, trying to convince his army of man-boys that the women accusing him are liars, and assuring MLB teams that any blowback from signing him would blow over in a short time. Trevor Bauer may have a horde of adoring men — who don’t think being accused of sexual violence is a problem — following him and using his tweets to confirm their sexist worldview, but as a woman on the internet, I can promise you that female fans would not get over their team signing Bauer any time soon.

None of this is a great look for a guy trying to worm his way back into the good graces of any MLB front office who will have him. And, whatever he thinks, there’s nothing Bauer has said recently that would give an MLB team peace of mind that he’s done any reflecting on the reason he’s not in MLB in the first place, or that he’d do anything differently going forward. At least on this issue, MLB teams are smarter than we thought.

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