The Dodgers are seen as likely to cut embattled pitcher Trevor Bauer and take the financial hit – almost exactly $60M is left on his then-record $102M deal – should he win a big enough reduction in his two-year ban that time still remains on his contract.
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While the Dodgers are consistently not commenting on the Bauer situation, they remain PR- and fan-conscious, and key decision-makers are apparently as turned off as MLB by the against Bauer, who drew a record 324-game ban (on top) of the 99 games he’d already missed) in his domestic abuse case. That they may not need him – they lead MLB with a 1.78 rotation ERA – is almost beside the point.
There is believed to be little support inside the Dodgers clubhouse for Bauer, a Dodger for a half year before he agreed to what became the longest administrative leave in sports history. Even beyond the playing field, with universally respected megastars Clayton Kershaw, Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman, the Dodgers have two iconic sports stars with impeccable reputations, Magic Johnson and Billie Jean King, in decision-making roles, and understand an organization is more than statistics. The Dodgers, with a $290M payroll, are run by deep-pocketed folks who get the importance of catering to the customer and can afford a financial hit.
While not all the facts have come out, with three women known to claim abuse, it’s unlikely the ban will be completely overturned as Bauer has suggested it should be. However, Bauer’s criminal case was thrown out, and with the previous record ban for abuse being exactly half Bauer’s suspension, he’s seen as having a chance for a steep reduction. He’d surely prefer a hearing held soon; his pay stopped with the ban, and more importantly, he hasn’t pitched for 10 months.
MLB teams have been willing to eat large contracts lately, with the Angels absorbing Justin Upton’s $28M salary and the Mets’ swallowing $37M-plus left on Robinson Cano’s deal. In this case, cutting Bauer wouldn’t be about talent but about enhancing workplace atmosphere and fan/public relations.
Harper will be checked out again
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Bryce Harper has been DHing due to an elbow concern and will see a specialist soon. The MRIs haven’t revealed anything too concerning … Philly figures to give Joe Girardi the season to get the Phillies on the right track, but its hard to see him being brought back if they continue their forever .500 (or so) ways… The Angels are about the most fun team in baseball, with perennial MVP candidates Mike Trout (league leading 1.183 OPS) and Shohei Ohtani and many exciting young stars. But one scout wondered where the Angels will get late-season innings with a rotation of kids, an ex-reliever (Michael Lorenzen) and an all-time great and hitter/pitcher (Ohtani), who’s obviously doing two big jobs… Kris Bryant’s back pain is said to be mild, and the hope is he, too, won’t miss much more time… Bryant had the Mariners high on his list with winning bidder Colorado ($182M, 7 years), but the Mariners preferred five years . So instead they traded for Jesse Winker (.204) and Eugenio Suarez (.202). Both are also off to slow starts … Logan Gilbert (2.13 ERA), though, looks like a true ace for Seattle.
Jack Leiter has impressed enough that he’s an outside consideration for a 2022 call-up with Texas (but 2023 is more realistic) … The Rangers bought a half-billion dollar double-play combo last winter, but the plan is to emphasize pitching next year … The Rangers bid about $140M early for Trevor Story (from nearby Irving, Texas) but told him they wanted to go early, before the lockout. Seager was their clear No. 1 choice, though, so Story likely would have been playing 2B. He got the same deal and position in Boston … With Aaron Judge an early MVP candidate (he and Trout look like favorites), even though this year’s performance isn’t supposed to factor in, the Yankees should settle his arbitration case ($17M vs. . $21M is the split, to be decided in June 22 hearing) … Isiah Kiner-Falefa heard for years from his grandfather John Kiner that he is related to Hall of Famer Ralph Kiner, and after having a DNA test done last year found out he is likely the fourth cousin twice removed from the slugging/broadcasting great… Jhoan Duran, Twins rookie closer, set the club record with a 102 mph pitch … Ryan Helsley of the Cardinals did him one better, hitting 103.5 … The Twins rotation has been way better than expected (3.52 ERA), but Chris Paddack (elbow), after pitching well early for the Twins, will be out awhile … The Mets nearly traded for Paddack plus Eric Hosmer and Emilio Pagan for Dom Smith, and that still may have been worthwhile as Hosmer is hitting .367 an d Smith still doesn’t fit the Mets’ roster.
Druw Jones, son of Andruw, is being scouted extensively by the Orioles who have the first pick. He’s said to be one of five under consideration … One has to wonder if its worth it for Atlanta beating star 3B Austin Riley over relative pennies ($3.95M, not $4.2M) in arbitration after he helped win the World Series, especially via an in -season hearing? Or if it’s worth taking more key players to a hearing (Max Fried, Dansby Swanson, Adam Duvall)? The Braves, the one corporately owned US team and a major money maker, are outstanding at negotiation and saving loot. But could having many underpaid players wear on a roster?… No system is perfect. But someone will need to explain how Ian Happ (a very good player but not Riley) gets $4.1M as a first time arbitration eligible player, and Riley 150K less.
Could the Red Sox become sellers?
Some see the Red Sox as a potential seller. They could certainly make things interesting with all they could offer – starting with Xander Bogaerts, JD Martinez and Nate Eovaldi. (Assume Rafael Devers would be off limits.).
New Diamondbacks pitching coach Brent Strom’s influence is already felt. Huge start for the stunning D-Backs rotation (2.43 ERA) … Even bigger surprise: Guardians hitters. They are top-six in most every category … Jesus Luzardo, throwing 99 mph, was a nice pickup by Marlins GM Kim Ng for a rental (Starling Marte) … Former Royals closer Greg Holland is believed to be retiring. If so, very nice career: 220 saves, including hitting 40 in a season three times … MLB lost its resident intellectual when St. Louis shortstop Paul DeJong, opera buff, was demoted … Justin Verlander leads MLB with a 0.70 WHIP. That’s a comeback… Player of the Week: Reid Detmers, LAA SP.