No big surprise, but the Indians have sent top prospect Trevor Bauer to Triple-A after he was in the mix for the final rotation spot.
Cleveland previously reassigned Daisuke Matsuzaka to minor-league camp, taking him out of the rotation mix, but fellow reclamation projection Scott Kazmir remains in the running along with Carlos Carrasco.
Bauer was acquired from the Diamondbacks in the big swap that saw Shin-Soo Choo leave Cleveland and has No. 1 starter upside if he can consistently throw strikes, but at age 22 and with just 14 starts at Triple-A he was a longshot to make the Opening Day roster.
Letting him dominate for a month or two in the International League before a call-up is certainly a reasonable idea. Plus, it potentially gives our own Craig Calcaterra a chance to make the trek to Columbus to see Bauer pitch and, more importantly, perhaps talk him into a rap battle or at least a nice lunch date.
You hear a lot about pitchers tipping pitches. It’s often offered up post-facto as an excuse for poor performance by the pitcher himself or his own team. It’s sort of like the “best shape of my life” thing being offered in the offseason to talk about why the player got injured or played badly the previous year. “Smitty’s stuff is still great, he was just tipping his pitches,” said a source close to the player whose stuff is not really great anymore.
Which isn’t to say that pitchers don’t tip pitches. Of course they do. Opposing teams look for it, pick up on it and take advantage of it whenever they can. It’s just that (a) the opposing team has an interest in not talking about it, lest the pitcher STOP tipping its pitches; and (b) the guy actually tipping his pitches doesn’t want to talk specifically about it lest he starts doing it again.
Which is what makes this article at Sports Illustrated so interesting. In it Tom Verducci talks to an anonymous Houston Astros player who explains how Dodgers starter Yu Darvish was tipping his pitches during the World Series, leading to him getting absolutely shellacked in Games 3 and 7. The upshot: the Astros knew when a slider or a cutter was coming, they waited for it and they teed off.
Darvish is a free agent now. I’m guessing, whoever signs him, knows exactly what they’ll gave him work on the first day of spring training.