The Trevor Bauer experience got off to a bit of a shaky start tonight in Atlanta. In the most hyped debut for a starting pitcher since Yu Darvish in April, the 2011 No. 3 overall pick allowed two runs over four innings as part of a no-decision against the Braves.
Bauer struck out Michael Bourn looking on a 3-2 pitch to begin his major league career and was able to get out of the first inning unscathed after giving up a two-out single to Martin Prado. The Braves threatened in the second inning after Chipper Jones singled and Freddie Freeman doubled, but the 21-year-old right-hander was able to get Andrelton Simmons on a ground out and Jair Jurrjens to strike out to escape.
Things got pretty dicey in a 30-pitch third inning. He walked three, hit a batter and gave up an RBI double to Brian McCann. The inning even included a visit from the team trainer, but the rookie right-hander checked out OK. He was pretty fortunate to get out of it with just one run crossing the plate. Bauer gave up a sacrifice fly in his final inning of work before Gerardo Parra pinch-hit for him with two outs in the top of the fifth.
All told, Bauer allowed five hits while walking three, striking out three and hitting a batter. He threw 42 out of 74 pitches for strikes. It’s worth noting that he threw 50 pitches Sunday during his final start with Triple-A Reno, so the Diamondbacks likely planned to have a quick hook all along.
It was a pretty uneven debut for Bauer, but it’s easy to see why he has garnered so much attention. While he didn’t have his best curveball working, he was hitting 95 mph with his fastball and showcased his wide assortment of pitches. He’ll be a lot of fun to watch moving forward.
Buster Olney of ESPN reports that the White Sox and Diamondbacks have emerged as two of the strongest contenders for Orioles third baseman Manny Machado. It seems like a foregone conclusion that Baltimore will deal their superstar infielder this winter, but nothing appears imminent just yet. While both the White Sox and D-backs have reportedly made serious offers, Orioles owner Peter Angelos is wary of any non-contending team that might be incentivized to flip Machado to the rival Yankees next season.
The White Sox, for their part, have assured the Orioles that they view Machado more as a solid one-year rental than the new face of their franchise, with no immediate plans to deal him elsewhere. Given their current rebuilding status and the unlikelihood that they would contend in 2018, it makes their offer a bit of a head-scratcher — and, as USA Today Sports’ Bob Nightengale points out, they’ve been reluctant to put any top-5 prospects on the table in preliminary negotiations.
The Diamondbacks, on the other hand, are far better positioned to enter the postseason in 2018, though that doesn’t automatically make them the perfect landing spot for Machado. They already have Jake Lamb stationed at third base, and while it’s not inconceivable that they could jettison the Ketel Marte/Chris Owings/Nick Ahmed shortstop platoon for someone of Machado’s talent, his $17 million salary appears to be more than the D-backs are currently capable of absorbing.
The White Sox and D-backs may have exhibited the most interest in Machado so far, but they’re hardly the only contenders here. MASN Sports’ Roch Kubatko maintains that the Cardinals and Yankees remain in discussions for the 25-year-old, with Cardinals’ RHP Jordan Hicks and catcher Carson Kelly drawing interest, as well as Yankees’ top prospect Gleyber Torres. Any deal involving the Yankees still feels like a long shot, however; as Craig mentioned on Wednesday, it makes sense that the club wouldn’t want to see their star player hanging around their division rivals in 2018, and the Yankees should be well prepared to make a run at him in free agency next winter.