“Trevor Bauer’s departure from the Yokohama DeNA Baseball Club after signing a one-year contract is likely to be delayed until next February’s spring training,” Japan’s SporNichi Annex reported on March 18.
Bauer, who was drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks with the third overall pick in the first round of the 2011 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, donned a Yokohama DeNA uniform prior to this season. After winning the National League Cy Young Award in 2020, he signed a massive three-year, $120 million contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers, which was never fulfilled. Bauer was accused of sexual assault.굿모닝토토
Bauer was accused by the woman and went to court, but the charges were dropped due to insufficient evidence. The Major League Baseball Office of the Commissioner, which can impose discipline for sexual offenses even if a player is not convicted, later issued a severe 324-game suspension. Bauer steadfastly maintained his innocence and fought the commissioner’s decision, which was reduced to 194 games.
Bauer’s year-long hiatus set the stage for his return to the mound in the 2023 season, but that didn’t happen. With the Dodgers having released him, and 29 other major league teams not reaching out to him, Bauer was a sitting duck. Bauer was forced to turn his attention to Asia, where he connected with the Yokohama DeNA.
His performance in Japan was tremendous. After missing the opening day roster due to injury, Bauer went 4-0 with a 2.08 ERA in the first four games of the exchange in June, earning him Monthly MVP honors. In August, he went 3-1 with a 1.67 ERA in six appearances, earning him a second Monthly MVP title. However, a pelvic injury sustained in the final game of the regular season while making a throw after a sliding catch ended his season with a 10-4 record and a 2.76 ERA.
Despite his reputation as a “bad boy” and “troublemaker,” Bauer is a genuine baseball player who has made a huge impact on the Japanese baseball scene. In Japan, a six-man rotation rarely plays more than once a week. However, Bauer’s insistence on a four-day rest rotation and his ability to throw more than 100 pitches per game has changed the perception of baseball in Japan.
Tsuneo Horiuchi, chairman of the selection committee for the Sawamura Award, which honors Japan’s “best pitcher,” said, “100-pitch rotations are a good system to match the 160-plus games we play in the United States on four days’ rest. Japan, on the other hand, comes out once a week and throws 100 pitches. You can’t win with pitchers who can win. I’m in favor of the way Bauer throws. This is how you get a 20-win pitcher. You have to throw a lot to win a lot. I wish I could imitate Bauer.”
“Bauer is a good example of a pitcher who pitches very strongly. I would like to see leaders, managers, and coaches change the system of six-day rest rotations, 100 pitches, and six or seven changes. That’s why baseball is so boring in the second half of the season, because you change your pitchers to fit the system when you think, ‘I can still pitch.’ I hope a team comes along that turns it around.”
Despite a late start and early finish to his season due to injury, Bauer has made a significant impact, so there is a lot of interest in him. Yokohama DeNA, as well as the deep-pocketed SoftBank Hawks, are interested in signing Bauer. According to Sports Illustrated, Yokohama DeNA General Manager Hagihara said, “We have made a creative offer to Bauer that only we can make,” but convincing him to stay is not easy.
Bauer’s agent is currently pushing for a return to the major leagues. “Bauer’s agent is meeting with teams in the hopes that Bauer can return to the majors,” John Heyman of the New York Post reported on Sept. 9. Hagihara also said, “Bauer originally came to us under the assumption that he would return to the major leagues.”
With a return to the major leagues in mind, Bauer’s decision on where to go could take a long time. “We’ll be keeping a close eye on Bauer’s movements as he prioritizes returning to the major leagues, but even if he stays, it will be a while before a formal decision is made,” said SporNichi Annex, adding, “It’s going to be a long offseason for Yokohama DeNA and its fans.”