Detroit Tigers: Entertain the idea of Trevor Bauer in the rotation

Aug 2, 2020; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Trevor Bauer (27) during the fourth inning against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 2, 2020; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Trevor Bauer (27) during the fourth inning against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports /

You may not like Trevor Bauer. But think about what he could bring to the Detroit Tigers pitching staff who needs an ace.

Look, you probably think I am crazy for suggesting Trevor Bauer to the Detroit Tigers rotation or this is an attempt for a”clickbait” headline that is filled with empty calories.  Whatever, that’s fine. You are entitled to your opinion.

The other suggestion is why this would be a bad idea is that Detroit is not going to spend big bucks on another free-agent pitcher after Jordan Zimmermann’s contract just came off the books.  Heck, I even wrote about a free agent pitching “curse” (a Halloween theme idea that seemed to fall flat to some people) that Detroit seemed to have going back to the 90s.

I get it, you don’t like his views, how he trolls people, the list goes on and on. But Bauer has said he would sign with any team.

He has received a qualifying offer from the Reds (1-year, $18.9 million) so which means Detroit would have to give up a draft pick somewhere between the first round and the first Competitive Balance Round pick if the contract goes over $50 million. So why should Detroit consider the NL Cy Young candidate?

The numbers

Let’s start with his numbers on Baseball Savant in 2020.

He limited hard-hit contact and the biggest stat to take away from this is his strikeouts. As a team, the Tigers starting rotation had 212, and Bauer alone, had 100. They finished last in strikeouts among starting rotations in the league.

His numbers at Comerica Park for his career has shown he does not mind pitching there at all. 56 innings, ERA of 2.89 (6-2 overall) WHIP of 1.107, allowing four home runs total in his eight starts there.

So what about US Cellular Field, a park that is known to give up a lot of home runs? Well, he has given up just five in 60.2 innings pitched. (ERA of 3.56 in 10 starts)  If you are going to be trying to keep up with the White Sox in the upcoming years, those numbers are worth considering.

Game adjustments

I admit I did not like Trevor Bauer because he was on the opposite team and his behavior on social media but then after reading The MVP Machine and seeing how hard he has worked at his craft to get better, I changed my mind.

He is constantly tinkering with his grips and how he approaches pitching, which could rub off the Tigers’ young pitching staff. His evolution of his mechanics is pretty remarkable. Check out his interview here with John Smoltz about how he adjusted with hip and back problems from March 2019.

Bauer spoke about how he looks at how the league is trending and how he can adjust to be ready. He works out at Driveline Baseball, where Matt Boyd has spent some time working out there on his mechanics. I am not saying others do not treat their approach to pitching the same way but reading what he overcame for his size and how his methods were unconventional, you have to tip your cap to someone who knew his method was working.

The “rah-rah” angle is Detroit has Matt Boyd as the leader of the staff. With Bauer on your staff, he can perhaps give them another leader in the clubhouse.

Will the Detroit Tigers make an offer?

There is no rumor or anything from the front office that Bauer is even better considered. With the teams heading towards a free agent period where activity may not happen until mid to late January, I would like to see Detroit inquire to his agent, Rachel Luba. A one-year deal could help Detroit stay competitive in 2021 until the rest of the arms arrive.

To me for anyone who follows hockey from the late ’80s and early ’90s, it was like when the Red Wings got Wendall Clark from Toronto and Chris Chelios from Chicago. It was strange at first but they ended up helping the Red Wings out. (well, not so much Clark but you get the idea)

This blog series he is doing on his YouTube channel is pretty entertaining, including a joke at Scott Boras that I thought was funny.  So, check it out and see where he goes but all I know the stats indicate he would be a welcome addition to the Detroit Tigers starting rotation, hungry for a pitcher who can strike out batters and hungry for star power.

He rejected the qualifying offer so why not reach out and see if he is interested?