Cleveland Indians pitcher Trevor Bauer has been through arbitration once before, but after this year’s showdown—he wanted $13 million, while the team offered $11 million—he walked away from it feeling a little hurt, although he did get the money he wanted.
Bauer, who has won both of his arbitration hearings against the Indians and will likely have one more next year before he can become a free agent, told USA Today’s Bob Nightengale that the end of the team’s argument turned personal:
“They spent the last 10 minutes of the case trying a character-assassination,” Bauer said. “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, and should be the definitive answer why I’m not worth $13 [million].”
That’s how arbitration hearings work. (Bauer knows this: He claimed he sent an invite to Indians president Chris Antonetti and GM Mitch Chernoff, but they didn’t show, instead letting the lawyers make their case.) They can get nasty, even though the purpose of them is so that the player and team can stay together. The player argues that he’s worth X, and the baseball team does everything in its power to argue that he’s actually worth Y, so when said player exposes himself to be a terrible human being on Twitter ...
“Basically, that I’m a terrible human being,” Bauer 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.”
Bauer was referring to the “69 Days of Giving” campaign he touted last spring after winning his arbitration case.
“They don’t mention that I gave to 68 charities or that I donated more than $100,000. Or that the whole point of the campaign was to bring awareness to all those charities, past the money I was giving them. Nothing about that. They just tried to say that I was bad for donating or for running that campaign.
“Painfully, the arbitrator didn’t see it as a negative.”
Donating to charity does not make Bauer, or anyone, a person above reproach. The whole exercise of charity is to give without expecting anything in return—that includes, or should include, praise. There are terrible people who have contributed a lot more to charitable causes than Bauer, and that doesn’t make them any less terrible. There’s no dollar amount that turns you into a good person, and bringing up your contributions to charity in an attempt to prove you’re a good person makes you look even worse!
Regardless of how irritating Bauer is, the opposing side in this case was a baseball team trying to save $2 million on a pitcher who was a solid Cy Young candidate for most of the season. He won his money, but for his own sake, maybe he’ll stay quiet online until he has to do this one more time.