Bauer wins in arbitration case with Indians

Right-hander will earn $6.525M in '18; Tribe had proposed $5.3M

February 15th, 2018

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- enjoyed a career year with the Indians last season, and it was up to an arbitration panel to determine how the pitcher would be rewarded for his work.

On Thursday, confirmed that Bauer won his case and will earn $6.525 million in the upcoming campaign. Three arbitrators heard arguments presented by both the Indians and the right-hander's representatives on Feb. 8, but the results of the hearing were delayed, as to not influence other ongoing cases. The Indians had proposed a salary of $5.3 million.

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"It's a business," Bauer said on Wednesday, when pitchers and catchers reported to camp for the Indians. "The decision to go to arbitration wasn't centered around [learning more about it]. But once it was clear that it was going to happen, it was interesting for me.

"I've never really been in a courtroom. I've never really seen how that side of things work. Seeing the legal process and how cases are structured, I tried to just ask questions about why this and why that and how it's going to work. I like figuring out how things work, so I liked it from that standpoint."

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Cleveland has earned a strong reputation for settling on a contract with its arbitration-eligible players well before reaching the hearing stage. In fact, this marked only the third time since 1991 that the Indians required a hearing to determine a player's salary. The other two occurrences came in 2014, when Cleveland won its cases against pitchers Josh Tomlin and Vinnie Pestano.

With Bauer's situation now resolved, the Indians have finalized the amount of payroll needed to cover this year's arbitration class. The seven players combined will account for roughly $32.1 million of the Tribe's ledger, which projects to climb north of $130 million for 2018.

Prior to Bauer, the Indians avoided arbitration with ($10.6 million), ($5.6 million), ($5 million), Zach McAllister ($2.45 million), Dan Otero ($1.1 million, as part of a two-year, $2.5 million extension) and ($825,000).

Over parts of five seasons with Cleveland, Bauer has gone 46-39 with a 4.32 ERA in 128 appearances. Last year, the righty set career highs in wins (17), starts (31), strikeouts (196), strikeouts per nine innings (10.0) and strikeout-to-walk ratio (3.3) in 176 1/3 innings. Bauer, 27, was especially strong down the stretch in '17, going 10-1 with a 2.60 ERA, 91 strikeouts and 23 walks in 83 innings over his final 14 outings.

Among qualified American League starters last season, Bauer ranked sixth in strikeouts per nine innings and strikeout percentage (26.1), seventh in strikeout-minus-walk percentage (18.1), eighth in strikeout-to-walk ratio, ninth in Fielding Independent Pitching (3.90) and WAR (3.2, per Fangraphs), 13th in ERA- (94) and 15th in ERA (4.20).