Bauer on trade: 'It's time for a new chapter'

August 1st, 2019

CLEVELAND -- When players learn they’ve been traded to another team, they typically collect their belongings, say goodbye to their teammates and leave their former ballpark without looking back. Not .

The now-Reds hurler learned on Tuesday evening that he was on the verge of being traded to Cincinnati. And while he hugged his teammates before he left and came back to pack up his things on Wednesday morning, he couldn’t walk away that easily. In uncharacteristic fashion, Bauer spent the evening at Progressive Field, taking in the Indians' 10-4 win against the Astros from the stands.

“Guys that have been close friends of mine for -- I guess I came over here in ’13 -- five or six years now,” Bauer said. “I’ve thrown to [Roberto Perez] for a long time. It’s just kind of different, you know? I’m not going to be teammates with him. I’ve literally been teammates with him every single year I’ve been here in Cleveland. So it’s just strong bonds that I’ve formed with [Mike Clevinger] and [Shane] Bieber and [Nick] Goody and everybody, really. I don’t want to not include someone, but I’d be here forever naming everyone. It’s kind of odd, sad, saying bye to people. But it’s part of the industry, part of the job. It’s time for a new chapter.”

Bauer expected to be traded at some point. If it wasn’t at the Trade Deadline, it probably would’ve been in this upcoming offseason, he said. The most surprising thing was that he was dealt to a non-contending team like the Reds, who are in fourth place in the National League Central.

“The team was really close this year, more so than it had been in prior years,” Bauer said of this year's Indians club. “… I was really enjoying being part of that group and kind of dealing with the adversity we were dealt with and getting back to the point we had gotten to and getting excited for the stretch run. So I guess that part of it wasn’t ideal, being taken out of it. You always want to go out there and fight and stay in the fight with all your guys. That was part was a little bit different than I anticipated. But everything else was stuff that I kind of thought through and have been prepared for.”

The adversity that Bauer alluded to was the injuries to the Indians' starting rotation, an aspect of its roster that was projected to be the best in baseball that quickly took a hit when Clevinger was injured in April (upper back strain), Corey Kluber followed with a fractured right arm at the beginning of May and Carlos Carrasco was diagnosed with leukemia in June.

And while the injury bug kept spreading, Bauer had hinted that he was dealing with “physical limitations” for a number of starts in May, and he finally explained what his injuries were before he left.

“One of the things I’m most proud about is that I haven’t missed a start this year,” Bauer said, “through two months of probably needing to be on the [injured list] and probably should have missed the starts.”

Bauer said he played through partially torn ligaments in his ankle since his fourth outing of the year. Because he began compensating for the pain, he started having back spasms. Bauer said there were only seven or eight starts where he felt that he was at his best this year, which resulted in a frustrating season.

“Everyone has little things that they deal with throughout the season,” Bauer said. “They get through it the best they can. I didn’t want to make any excuses. It’s not an excuse. It’s just something that people go through.”

The frustration was apparent on Sunday, in his final start in an Indians uniform, when his last “pitch” was a 380-foot heave over the center-field wall from the pitcher’s mound out of anger from a rough outing. While Indians manager Terry Francona said on Tuesday that he doesn’t want that to be the hurler’s legacy in Cleveland, Bauer said he’s leaving his legacy to be defined by the fans.

“I think at the end of the day, I am myself to a fault,” Bauer said. “There are good parts and bad parts and middle parts about everybody. And what I would like to be known as is just someone who is true to himself and passionate about the game. Tried to help as many people as I could in my time here. Tried to move things forward and make people's lives around me better, make the game better. Am I perfect? No, far from it. That's the same case for everybody.

“I just, I don't know. It'll be different for everybody, even two people who feel similarly about me will have different lasting memories and favorite times. But I don't know. I don't know how to answer any better than that.”