Trevor Bauer to San Diego Padres? It’s a popular idea, not a good one

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CLEVELAND, OH - JULY 5: Starter Trevor Bauer #47 of the Cleveland Indians pitches during the first inning against the San Diego Padres at Progressive Field on JULY 5, 2017 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - JULY 5: Starter Trevor Bauer #47 of the Cleveland Indians pitches during the first inning against the San Diego Padres at Progressive Field on JULY 5, 2017 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /
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The San Diego Padres trading for Trevor Bauer is everyone’s favorite rumor, but is the Cleveland Indians star really the answer to the Padres’ problems?

Trevor Bauer is destined for the San Diego Padres, if you believe the MLB rumor mill. Almost every website and blog believes that the Padres will trade for the Cleveland Indians pitcher, and that it’ll happen sooner rather than later.

Even the official Major League Baseball website, MLB.com, claims a Bauer to Padres trade makes “perfect sense.”

But maybe it’s not so perfect.

This is a classic case of the oldest dilemma in baseball history: struggling team looks to deal a big name to a team that’s looking for that last piece to be a contender. So do you make a big move to win now, at the cost of sacrificing prospects for your future?

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Let’s give Trevor Bauer his due: he’s good, and his strengths are exactly what the Padres starters don’t have right now.

In his 14 starts so far, according to Baseball Reference, Bauer has eaten up 91.2 innings—that’s 6.51 innings per start. And that would mean less innings that the Padres’ shaky bullpen would have to handle.

Bauer also has 103 strikeouts, for an average of 7.36 strikeouts per game, and a respectable ERA of 3.93 (though he’s currently upside-down with a record of 4-6).

He was an All-Star just last year, and with eight seasons under his belt, he’s the experienced hand that the current San Diego rotation could greatly benefit from.

He even has a little bit of experience in the National League West—Bauer began his career with the Arizona Diamondbacks, although he only appeared in four games for them.

Ironically, the Padres beat him in his MLB debut, as he gave up six runs on seven hits and walked four in three-plus innings.

Obviously, Bauer has gotten a lot better since then. So opposition to a Trevor Bauer trade isn’t because he’s overrated. It’s because the price the San Diego Padres would have to pay for him is just too high.

The Cleveland Indians aren’t going to let him go for cheap. They’ll want at least one major league-ready player from the Padres’ farm system, probably a pitcher given that their rotation is having injury issues right now. And as mentioned above, the Padres need pitching. It’s not a wise idea to give up pitching prospects when those folks could possibly be your next starters.

And San Diego has gotten burned by this before—acquiring a big name thinking that person will turn their fortunes around, then the superstar underdelivers and the team is out prospects. Does the name James Shields sound familiar?

If A.J. Preller and company are really that confident in the youth movement, which it seems like they are given the relatively young age of most of the 2019 Padres roster, they ought to stick to their guns and develop their talent, not just trade it off for bigger, flashier parts.

Plus, remember that Trevor Bauer is a free agent at the end of the season. Sacrificing prospects for a half-season rental—it might get the Padres into the playoffs, but it’s going to cost a lot for short-term success. Unless they can get Bauer to agree to a contract extension, let’s not let the hype of now distract from the future that San Diego is always trying to build toward. It’s almost here anyway, with some of the aforementioned experts saying they could contend in 2020.

Next. Why Padres should avoid James Shields. dark

For more San Diego Padres trade rumors throughout the season, follow the Rumors category at Friars on Base.

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