With the recent news regarding Trevor Bauer and his reinstatement into Major League Baseball, the question remains: when not if, will the Los Angeles Dodgers end up releasing Bauer? Once the Dodgers break free from Bauer, which organization would be willing to take on the baggage and scrutiny yet to come?
Some teams linked to possibly signing Bauer are the Tampa Bay Rays, Baltimore Orioles, Texas Rangers, and the Houston Astros. There might be a team or two that will come out of the woods that no one expects and will take a chance on the former Cy Young Award winner. Whoever signs Bauer will be getting a pitcher with a career 21.0 WAR and 3.79 ERA at a bargain price, even with the Dodgers picking up most of the tab on his 2023 salary. So, how do the Astros fit into this equation?
Many media outlets have stated that Bauer to the Astros makes sense with the loss of Justin Verlander to the Mets. Many of these outlets seem to be forgetting that the Astros still have one of the deepest rotations going into 2023, even with the loss of Verlander. Mixing Bauer in with Framber Valdez, Lance McCullers Jr., and possibly even Cristian Javier would be like trying to combine oil and water. No matter how hard you try, they won’t mix.
Astros fans remember when the team worked out a trade with the Toronto Blue Jays for reliever Roberto Osuna in 2018. The Astros and former general manager Jeff Luhnow knew that MLB was investigating Osuna for domestic violence. With their zero-tolerance policy, the Astros went against their morals and traded for Osuna, knowing that the fans would not approve. Still, when the team was in the thick of a postseason race, anyone that could contribute to a possible back-to-back World Series championship would be an asset, not a liability.
Now, we flash forward to today. The Astros are coming off their second World Series championship and, of course, are looking to improve and repeat in 2023. Owner Jim Crane says he is looking to add another arm to the rotation and maybe some other pieces, but Bauer should not be a blip on the radar for Crane and the Astros. A team that has finally gotten back on track since the scandal, thanks to manager Dusty Baker bringing stability to the clubhouse, adding Bauer to the mix would be an Osuna 2.0 for the Astros. Not a good look for the defending World Series champions.
The optics of Bauer to the Astros on the outside look dark and grim, but what we, the fans, don’t see is what happens inside the clubhouse. These players would spend Spring Training, a 162-game season, and the postseason with Bauer. Given the past, specifically between Bauer and Astros third baseman Alex Bregman, this could have the makings of a toxic relationship that could spread throughout the whole clubhouse. We all know how close this clubhouse is already. Would the Astros front office want to throw a wrench and disrupt the mojo? We hope not because what the Astros have now with this group is a bond that runs deep.
The Astros don’t need Bauer; yes, he is a Houston native, but the Astros need to let another team deal with all of the baggage and distractions that Bauer brings with him wherever he goes. After all, the Astros did win a World Series without him!
Be sure to comment below with your thoughts on whether or not the Astros should take the risk on Bauer.
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