GOODYEAR, Ariz. — Cleveland Indians pitcher Trevor Bauer, who won his arbitration case for $13 million, said he enjoyed the process until the final 10 minutes in which he accused the Indians’ representatives of presenting a “character assassination” against him.
Bauer, who will be eligible for free agency in two years, said he has no interest in signing a long-term contract with Cleveland, or anyone else, and intends to be in the arbitration hearing one last time next winter.
Bauer was awarded a $13 million contract in the arbitration hearing, the second time he defeated Cleveland in the process, which proposed a $11 million salary. He believes that if not for sustaining a stress fracture in the right leg in August, he would have won the Cy Young and earned at least $16 million.
“They spent the last 10 minutes of the case trying a character-assassination,” Bauer said. “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].”
What else did they say?
“Basically, that I’m a terrible human being,” Bauer said, “which was interesting on their part. I thought that giving to charity, especially because they didn’t mention it was a charitable campaign, just mentioned the name.”
Bauer was referring to the “69 Days of Giving” campaign he touted last spring after winning his arbitration case.
“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 insists that he doesn’t have ill-will towards the Cleveland organization, but even though the front office wasn’t in the arbitration hearing, doesn’t quite excuse them, either.
“You never know how the character assassination plays, and considering that’s what ended it,” Bauer said, “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.”
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Bauer even sent formal personal invitations to Cleveland president Chris Antonetti and general manager Mitch Chernoff to the hearing.
They didn’t come, which Bauer said disappointed him, particularly after what he endured the final few minutes of Cleveland’s case against him.
“I sent them a nice ‘Plus One’ invite, a postcard, designed it all myself,” Bauer said. “It said, “You are formally invited to the attend the arbitration hearing between Trevor Bauer and the Cleveland Indians. The date, the location, you and plus-one, the whole deal. And they decided not to come.
“That was what I was most hurt about, you know. I had this big event, a custom suit, I dressed up, and they didn’t show up.
“That’s disrespect. Unbelievable.”
Really, or is it just Bauer being sarcastic?
“Oh, no, it’s all true,” Bauer said. “That’s all true. 100 percent. But that’s the game they play. “Not ‘they’ as in anyone specifically, but for a long time, that’s how it’s been done in arbitration. The higher-ups on the team don’t go. They have lawyers argue the case for them.
“That’s the game they play. ‘It wasn’t us. We didn’t say that. We still like you as a player.'”
This is the second consecutive time Bauer defeated Cleveland in the arbitration hearing, but there were never personal insults in the previous hearing, with Bauer calling it “more mild.”
“I think they put on a better case this year, overall,” Bauer said, “until the last 10 minutes. Who knows what exactly swayed their decision, but I don’t think it helped their cause.”
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