Despite winning the National League Cy Young Award last season, new Dodgers pitcher Trevor Bauer is looking to live up to the expectations that come from signing a three-year, $102 million deal, both on and off the field.
During Thursday’s introductory press conference at Dodger Stadium, Bauer answered questions about his new deal, but the right-hander also had to answer questions about prior encounters he’s had on social media.
One of those moments came two years ago when the right-hander got into a back-and-forth with a college student, who said she was harassed by Bauer’s fans following the incident. Shortly thereafter, Bauer tweeted his defense: “I often defend myself against internet trolling, bullying and slander. My responses to fans are good-natured. I do not encourage any of my fans, followers or friends to attack, insult or harass anyone on any social media platform, or in real life. There is no room for that in the world. I have been made aware that some of the interactions related to a specific Twitter exchange may have had a negative impact. That was not my intention. I will wield the responsibility of my public platform more responsibly in the future.”
Last summer, Bauer was involved in another incident. This time, it was a Twitter spat with a New York-based reporter, and the reporter also was harassed by Bauer’s fans in the aftermath.
“Everyone makes mistakes in the past. I try to learn from them,” Bauer said Thursday. “I try to learn from them as quickly as I possibly can. I try to understand other people’s viewpoints on things and be better in the future. I think if you look at my history as a baseball player, my history on social media and my history as a person, for those who know me well, they know that I apply that process to everything that I do. I’m committed to doing that moving forward, as well.
“I’m doing my best to be better, as I do in all walks of my life. I don’t think it makes sense to dive into specific issues in this forum, but I am committed to being better on social media, being better on the field, being better in the clubhouse, being better in life in general. I’m here to win and I’m here to make a positive impact in people’s lives,” he added.
While there were plenty of fans that received the Bauer signing with joy, as it gives the team a better chance to win a World Series in 2021 and beyond, there also were fans that received the news with concern. Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said he understood some of those thoughts, but wanted to reassure everyone that the club spent an extensive amount of time researching if Bauer would be a good culture fit. As part of that process, the Dodgers spoke to former teammates, previous clubhouse managers and front-office members of each of his previous three teams. All the feedback was positive, according to Friedman, giving the Dodgers confidence that Bauer has learned from his past.
“We very much value them,” Friedman said of the fans. “Hopefully over the last six-plus years, some trust and credibility has been built up on the research that we do on players and the vetting process we go through in terms of talking to teammates of players that we’re looking at, talking to clubhouse guys, talking to trainers and we get as much information as we can on players. There’s some stuff that’s more public with Trevor, which is something that we definitely wanted to dig into.
“The talent is pretty obvious, but I actually think that from a cultural standpoint, [in terms of] continuing to strive to get better at everything we do, I actually think he’s going to be a tremendous asset in that. And so it’s not for me to speak for Trevor, but in our conversations, he’s alluded to past mistakes, and we’re all going to make mistakes. And what’s important for me is how people, including myself when I make mistakes, internalize it and what our thoughts are going forward. Obviously, time will tell, but I feel like he’s going to be a tremendous add, not only on the field, but in the clubhouse and the community. That’s obviously why we’re sitting here.”