Bauer wins arbitration case with Indians

All-Star right-hander set to earn $13 million for 2019 season

February 13th, 2019

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- For the second consecutive year, 's salary was left to be determined by an arbitration panel and, just like in 2018, the latest ruling went in his favor.
On Wednesday, Bauer won his arbitration case and he will earn $13 million for the 2019 season after arbitrators listened to arguments presented by the Indians and the right-hander's representatives on Friday. Bauer had filed for $13 million in January, and the Tribe had reportedly offered $11 million.
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"It's just fun seeing the chess match," Bauer said.
A look inside the hearing
The process begins with a presentation from the player's side, as to why he deserves a higher salary. The club then follows with its explanation regarding why the player should receive a lower salary. In the second half of the hearing, the Major League Baseball Players Association refutes what the club has said, before MLB's Labor Relations Department gets its chance to counter.
"It's obviously not a great process," said Indians president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti, who did not attend the hearing. "I mean, we spend most of our time talking about all the wonderful things our players do and the nature of the process, because you have to argue a position, you have to bring things to light, and things that players may not do as well. And that's not a comfortable position for any club to go through, but it's a necessary part of the process."
Bauer originally said he felt the opposition put on a good case until the final 10 minutes, in which they used Bauer's social media presence and the name of his charitable campaign, "69 Days of Giving," against him. When the Indians' front office heard his statements, a brief meeting was held with Bauer to ensure all were on the same page, during which Bauer reassured everyone that he does not have any negative feelings toward anyone in the organization.

"In a completely unemotional way, I thought the decision to end the rebuttal period with the intent behind it -- that I would characterize it, was to demean my character and present things that I've said in a way that is disingenuous -- was a bad decision," Bauer said. "And, to be clear, that was not the Indians or the representatives that presented that information. It was presented by the Labor Relations Department."

The verdict
Bauer's jump in salary is reflective of his career year on the rubber in 2018, when he pitched to a 2.21 ERA with a 1.089 WHIP in 175 1/3 innings, while striking out 221 batters with an American League-leading FIP of 2.44. He placed sixth in the AL Cy Young Award voting -- despite being sidelined for about a month after getting struck in the leg by a comebacker on Aug. 11 -- and he was selected to his first All-Star Game. Bauer thought winning the AL Cy Young Award would've added at least $3 million to his contract.
"I would've won the Cy Young," Bauer said had he not been injured. "And a lot of things will change when I win the Cy Young. A lot of things. So, baseball gets to stay the same for another year at least."
He's done it twice; he'll probably do it again
Last year, Bauer was the first to win his arbitration case against the Indians since 1991, and he earned $6.525 million rather than the Tribe's $5.3 million counter offer.
"No, last year was very mild," Bauer said. "Last year was very mild. This year, I think they put on a better case this year overall until the last 10 minutes."
Bauer said he expects to be in the arbitration hearing for one final time next year.
"I'm going to set the record raise or the record salary in arbitration for a [fourth-year arb-eligible] starting pitcher," Bauer said. " ... Next year, I'll expect to be paid in line with what my season in 2019 is worth, which will never be agreed upon before a hearing. So, I don't see a way we avoid it."