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Bauer wants to start every 4 days, will pitch plan in free agency

Logan Riely / Getty Images Sport / Getty

The workhorse starter has become an anomaly in modern baseball, but Cincinnati Reds right-hander Trevor Bauer wants to change that.

When he becomes a free agent next winter, the outspoken pitcher plans to market himself as a starter who will pitch every four days, rather than on the traditional five-day schedule.

"I think when people actually sit down and look at the information that I have and look at the case that I can make that I would actually be better pitching on four days than I am on five days," Bauer told Bobby Nightengale of the Cincinnati Enquirer. "When they see that information and then look at the potential WAR benefits, potential wins that could add to a team, the way it helps, especially, other members of the rotation to keep them fresh."

If implemented, Bauer's plan would go against the grain in modern baseball. Since the turn of the century, workloads have declined rapidly in favor of deep, powerful bullpens and innings limits for full-time starters.

"If teams actually take me seriously and sit down and look at the merits of it, I think they'll start seeing some of those things and it won't seem so crazy," the 29-year-old said. "It only seems crazy because no one is doing it right now.

"But I'm very convicted in the fact that, one, I can do it. Two, I would be better doing it. And three, it would be a benefit to my team."

In 2019, MLB starters combined to throw 25,157 2/3 innings, the fourth straight year that the league-wide total dropped and the lowest number in a non-strike season since 1975. Pitchers with at least 180 innings in 2019 averaged just 20 individual starts, according to Baseball-Reference, and no one started more than 34 games.

On a full-time, four-day schedule, a pitcher would have a fair chance at becoming the first with more than 35 starts since 2003.

Despite his desire to pitch more, Bauer doesn't have a long-standing reputation as an innings-eater. Since becoming a full-time major leaguer in 2014, he's averaged only 29 starts and 181 innings a year; 2019 was his first 200-inning season.

This isn't Bauer's first radical idea about his impending free agency. Last spring, he proclaimed that he'd only sign one-year contracts on the open market.

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