Trevor Bauer: Arbitration hearing was ‘character assassination’ by Indians

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Trevor Bauer won his arbitration case earlier this week. He’ll now make $13 million in 2019 instead of the $11 million the Indians wanted to pay him. That’s good.

The arbitration itself, though, sounded bad. At least from Bauer’s point of view. He called it character assassination. From Bob Nightengale at USA Today:

“They spent the last 10 minutes of the case trying a character-assassination,” Bauer said. “I learned that giving to charity is a bad thing . . .Basically, that I’m a terrible human being . . .”

The charity itself was apparently not a bad thing in the mind of the Indians, but Bauer’s somewhat juvenile gimmick for it — “the 69 days of giving” — was criticized by the club, as were some of his other social media controversies he got himself into. Bauer added that the Indians attempted to argue that a random comment he made on someone’s podcast about him being worth $10.5 million should hold him to that, legally speaking.

Most of that, if true, does sound pretty bad on the Indians’ part. Yes, Bauer has stepped in it online on multiple occasions and it’s fair game, I suppose, for the club to argue that a player is worth less if he creates bad press for himself and the team. But I’d argue that, even if Bauer has made a lot of mistakes — and he has — they haven’t been the sort of mistakes that are actually going to cost the Indians money or serve to negatively impact Bauer’s value as a pitcher.

Going after the name of the charity is pretty weak sauce too because, from what I’ve seen of it, it was a pretty effective campaign, probably because of its winking name rather than in spite of it. As for arguing that something Bauer said on a podcast estopping him saying he’s worth more in an arbitration, well, that’s just plain stupid. And yes, I said “estopped.”

By an arbitration’s very nature a team is going to say stuff about a player that the player doesn’t want to hear. Usually it’s about how they’re not as good, on the field, as they think they are. Sometimes it drifts into other areas too. I’ll also note that Bauer, at least what I can tell from afar, is wired a bit differently than most players and I can imagine a situation in which he takes those sorts of things a bit more personally than some others might. And it’s certainly the case that he has brought some bad stuff down on himself because of his social media habits.

But getting after him for the stuff he says they did sounds rather silly to me on the Indians’ part. All in an unsuccessful effort to save a couple million bucks. If they had put the kind of effort into building an outfield this winter that they did into picking nits with one of the better pitchers in baseball, maybe there’d be some more hope among the Indians fans I talk to.

Pujols has 2 more RBIs, Cardinals beat Pirates 8-7 in 10

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PITTSBURGH – Albert Pujols drove in two more runs and the St. Louis Cardinals went on to beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 8-7 in 10 innings Tuesday night.

Pujols hit a two-run single in the third inning to push his career total to 2,218 RBIs. That came a night after he broke a tie with Babe Ruth for second place on the career list. Hank Aaron holds the record with 2,287.

Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol then removed the 42-year-old Pujols at the end of the inning. St. Louis opens postseason play Friday when it hosts a best-of-three National League wild-card series.

Juan Yepez gave the Cardinals the win when he hit a tiebreaking single with one in the 10th inning off Chase De Jong (6-3) to score automatic runner Ben Deluzio.

“Tonight was interesting because you’re fairly scripted in who you want to use and who you don’t want to use and what you want tomorrow to look like so you can get ready for Friday,” Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol said. “It was a good one to still figure out a way to come out on top.”

The Cardinals threw out the potential tying run at home in the bottom of the 10th when automatic runner Kevin Newman tried to score from second base on Oneil Cruz‘s line single off the glove of first baseman Alec Burleson. The ball deflected to second baseman Brendon Donovan, who threw home to catcher Andrew Knizner.

The Pirates challenged the call, but it was upheld on video review.

“I thought we were going to get it overturned,” Newman said. “I just thought he didn’t tag me until he got higher up on the body.”

It was the Pirates’ 100th loss, the second year in a row they have reached that mark.

The Cardinals got two hits each from Donovan, Corey Dickerson, Knizner and Paul DeJong.

Cruz had three hits for the Pirates and Bryan Reynolds, Rodolfo Castro, Jack Suwinski, Ke'Bryan Hayes and Ji-Hwan Bae added two apiece. Miguel Andujar drove in two runs.

Chris Stratton (10-4) pitched two scoreless innings for the win.

“They weren’t the prettiest two innings I’ve ever pitched but I got a great play from the defense in the 10th inning to help me out,” Stratton said. “It was a good play all the way around.’

Pujols’ hit put the Cardinals ahead 3-1 but the Pirates answered with six runs in the bottom of the third. Andujar’s run-scoring double highlighted an inning that includes RBI singles by Castro, Suwinski, Ben Gamel and Bae.

The Cardinals then scored four runs in the seventh inning to tie the score at 7-all. Donovan hit an RBI single, Dickerson drove in two runs with a double and the tying run scored on a throwing error by Cruz, the rookie shortstop.

Both starting pitchers lasted just 2 2/3 innings. The Cardinals’ Dakota Hudson was rocked for seven runs and nine hits while the Pirates’ JT Brubaker allowed three runs on four hits.

Brubaker was activated from the injured list before the game. He had been out since Sept. 16 with right lat discomfort.

HELSLEY HURT

Reliever Ryan Helsley, the Cardinals’ closer, left in the eighth inning with a jammed right middle finger. Helsley was injured after catching a line drive by Bae and using his hands to brace himself while dodging a piece of a broken bat.

Helsley said he expects to be ready to pitch Friday.

“I don’t think there was anything super wrong with it,” Helsley said. `Just give it some rest and let it resolve itself.”

ROSTER MOVES

The Pirates optioned right-hander Roansy Contreras to Triple-A Indianapolis to clear a roster spot for Brubaker. They also recalled infielder/outfielder Tucapita Marcano from Indianapolis and optioned catcher Jose Godoy to the same club.

PIRATES AWARDS

Center fielder Bryan Reynolds was voted the winner of the Roberto Clemente Award, emblematic of the Pirates’ MVP, by the Pittsburgh chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America.

Mitch Keller won the Steve Blass Award for best pitcher. Former infielder Michael Chavis was voted the Chuck Tanner Good Guy Award.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Cardinals: OF Tyler O'Neill (strained right hamstring) has been ruled out for the wild-card series but St. Louis is hopeful he can play in the NLDS round if it advances. . 3B Nolan Arenado (left quadriceps tightness) missed his second straight game but could play Wednesday.

UP NEXT

Cardinals: Have not decided on a starter for Wednesday, though Marmol said LHP Matthew Liberatore (2-1, 5.46) and RHP Jake Woodford (4-0, 2.33) are possibilities.

Pirates: RHP Johan Oviedo (4-3, 3.12), who was acquired from the Cardinals on Aug. 1, gets the start.