After Trevor Bauer defeated the Cleveland Indians in arbitration, the pitcher admitted he enjoyed most of the process. But he didn't enjoy the final portion of his hearing, during which the All-Star pitcher says the Indians' representatives engaged in "character assassination" against him.
"They spent the last 10 minutes of the case trying a character assassination," Bauer explained to Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports. "I learned that giving to charity is a bad thing. I learned that agreeing with someone on a podcast just for the sake of argument that I was worth $10.5 million ... should be the definitive answer why I'm not worth $13 (million)."
Bauer was awarded the $13 million he was seeking for 2019. The Indians had proposed $11 million. When asked if Cleveland's representatives said anything else while allegedly attempting to assassinate his character, the 28-year-old didn't mince words.
"Basically, that I'm a terrible human being," he said. "Which was interesting on their part. I thought that giving to charity, especially because they didn't mention it was a charitable campaign, just mentioned the name."
He continued: "You never know how the character assassination plays, and considering that's what ended it, it kind of put a black mark on what I thought was a really (well) argued case on both sides. There's not room for that. Let's just stick to the numbers. Let the numbers tell the story."
Bauer added that Indians president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti and general manager Mike Chernoff didn't attend the hearing, although he says he sent them formal invites.
He noted that it's common for executives not to attend the potentially contentious hearings in an attempt to maintain relationships with players.
"But that's the game they play," Bauer said. "Not 'they' as in anyone specifically, but for a long time, that's how it's been done in arbitration. The higher-ups on the team don't go. They have lawyers argue the case for them.
"That's the game they play. 'It wasn't us. We didn't say that. We still like you as a player.'"
In a follow-up tweet, Nightengale wrote Bauer wanted to stress he had "no ill will towards anyone" over the arbitration process and has informed the Indians he isn't upset with them.
Bauer finished sixth in AL Cy Young voting in 2018, authoring a 2.21 ERA and 2.44 FIP. He's eligible for free agency in 2021.