Feb 12, 2013, 6:48 AM EDT
It was understood that the Diamondbacks trade of pitching prospect Trevor Bauer had more to do with the team’s opinion of his attitude than its opinion of his talent. Yes, he struggled during his callup last year, but he just turned 22 and struck out 11.5 batters per nine innings in two minor league seasons. A bit better control and this kid could be a star.
“When you get a guy like that and he thinks he’s got everything figured out, it’s just tough to commence and try to get on the same page with you … Since day one in Spring Training I caught him and he killed me because he threw about 100 pitches the first day,” Montero said, adding he told Bauer he should take it a bit slower and work on locating his fastball first before working on his breaking pitches. ”And he said ‘yes’, and the next time he threw I saw him doing the same thing,” Montero said. “He never wanted to listen … Good luck to Carlos Santana.”
It’s hard for me to not have a bit of sympathy for Bauer. Smarts + youth + confidence + stubbornness is not an easy set of attributes to carry in a lot of settings. At the risk of sounding arrogant, I will say I’m a pretty smart guy. But I am also stubborn and when I was young I didn’t just sound arrogant, I often was, and I had an unwarranted confidence in my own abilities. When I got out of law school I got into a professional environment where there was a Way of Doing Things, and I didn’t especially cotton to it. I’d buck it and think I knew better. Sometimes, yes, I actually did. I still think a lot of things I was expected to do as a baby lawyer were dumb and unnecessary.
After a while, though, I came to realize that the Way of Doing Things was in place for a lot of good reasons. It still chafed. I still often felt that I knew better. I still had an awful time trying to conform to the Way of Doing Things. But that Way, when I gave it a chance, usually made my life easier and helped me learn and grow. I learned and grew way more slowly, however, than the people who came in with some humility, an open mind and the realization that the folks who were in charge of the Way of Doing Things had at least some method to their apparent madness.
This is not to say that Kirk Gibson, Miguel Montero and the Arizona Diamondbacks have a monopoly on wisdom when it comes to how to integrate a then-21 year-old phenom into a big league setting. To the contrary, there are a lot of ways to skin a cat. Especially when that cat is a smart, young, confident and stubborn pitcher. Indeed, because a talented pitcher is a far more rare and valuable commodity than a kid out of law school, a team can and should at least try to tailor their Way of Doing Things to the talent they have as opposed to insisting on some My Way or the Highway approach. There have been flaky pitchers in the past and there will be flaky pitchers in the future. If they’re good, they always find homes.
But if what Montero is saying is true, and Bauer was unwilling to at least try to meet him and the Diamondbacks halfway — to at least give their far more experienced Way of Doing Things a chance — it suggests that the young man is going to have more trouble than most navigating the path between phenom and ace. Maybe Terry Francona and Carlos Santana are guys who can handle Bauer and tailor a system to suit his needs. But maybe they’re not. Maybe it will take two or three more stops and contentious spring trainings before Bauer either changes or finds someone with whom he can click.
I managed to eventually make peace with the Way of Doing Things in my legal career. But it was a rough peace, it took longer than it should have and, ultimately, it probably contributed to that career not being as long or as successful as it could have been had I been on board from day one. Here’s hoping that doesn’t happen to Trevor Bauer.
Or, if it does happen, here’s hoping he finds a place where he can work by himself all day like I did. That’s a pretty great setting for smart, overly-confident and stubborn people. We’re a very hard to work with bunch.
May 23, 2013, 11:32 PM EDT
If you watch enough baseball games, you’ll see the occasional error with an in-game graphic. You know how it goes, perhaps a player’s name is misspelled or the wrong name is shown with a particular player. However, we hit the jackpot tonight. In the FOX Sports Kansas City broadcast of the Angels-Royals game, there was…
May 23, 2013, 10:12 PM EDT
Austin Jackson is eligible to return from the disabled list on Monday, but it’s unlikely he’ll be ready by then. According to Chris Iott of MLive.com, Tigers manager Jim Leyland said today that Jackson “really hasn’t done any physical activity” since he was placed on the disabled list with a strained right hamstring on May…
May 23, 2013, 9:05 PM EDT
When Dodgers manager Don Mattingly made some pointed comments about his team yesterday, many thought that it was the beginning of the end for him in Los Angeles. It still might be, but the Dodgers are sticking with him for now. After we learned last night that Mattingly will indeed be the manager for Friday’s…
May 23, 2013, 8:25 PM EDT
After Chase Utley was scratched from the lineup earlier this week due to a “burning sensation” in his rib cage, it appeared unlikely that he would be able to avoid an extended absence, so it comes as no surprise that the Phillies are placing him the 15-day disabled list. Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com reports that…
May 23, 2013, 7:35 PM EDT
After testing his right wrist in simulated games this week, Mark Teixeira is almost ready to take the next step. According to Erik Boland of New York Daily News, Teixeira could begin a minor league rehab assignment next Tuesday with Double-A Trenton. The veteran first baseman said last week that he expected to be back…
May 23, 2013, 6:25 PM EDT
It’s been expected all along that the Mets would keep prospect right-hander Zack Wheeler in the minors until June, in part to delay his service time, but here we are. Mike Puma of the New York Post was told by a “high-ranking team official” that Wheeler is expected to make 2-3 starts with Triple-A Las…
May 23, 2013, 5:30 PM EDT
Rafael Perez, who was released by the Twins earlier this week, has agreed to a minor-league contract with the Red Sox. Not so long ago Perez was an underrated left-handed setup man for the Indians, posting a 3.64 ERA in 329 career innings, but he missed nearly all of last season with a shoulder injury…
May 23, 2013, 4:46 PM EDT
Kelvin Herrera was one of the best relievers in baseball last season as a 22-year-old rookie, throwing 84 innings with a 2.35 ERA and 77/21 K/BB ratio while leading MLB with an average fastball velocity of 98.5 miles per hour. He’s struggled this season, mostly due to serving up eight homers in 20 innings, but…
May 23, 2013, 4:30 PM EDT
I said this morning that I’m a bit uncomfortable with the legend-building surrounding Evan Gattis. I think I’m not alone in thinking that it’s starting to get a little ridiculous. From an Atlanta radio stadion: Unless that’s a straight-up homage and I’m just reading in the satire.
May 23, 2013, 4:19 PM EDT
While pitching at LSU and in the Orioles’ farm system 2012 fourth overall pick Kevin Gausman’s game-day routine involved eating one powdered mini donut before taking the mound and four powdered mini donuts between each inning. Apparently he gave that up recently on the advice of nutritionists, but here’s what was waiting in Gausman’s locker…
May 23, 2013, 4:00 PM EDT
Carlos Zambrano pitched an extended spring training game today and wasn’t half bad: Carlos Zambrano’s extended spring training line today vs PIT at Carpenter Complex: 4.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 4 SO, 64 pitches — Todd Zolecki (@ToddZolecki) May 23, 2013 When he was signed and I laughed about…
May 23, 2013, 3:45 PM EDT
Here’s a little twist to the news that the Mariners are going to send Jesus Montero back to Triple-A: Michael Pineda, whom the Yankees acquired for Montero only to watch him get hurt, is almost ready to begin a minor-league rehab assignment. General manager Brian Cashman told Andy McCullough of the Newark Star Ledger that…
May 23, 2013, 3:30 PM EDT
Been staring at this story all day. Thinking I wasn’t gonna link to it. Thinking I had higher standards. But then the crowd thinned out, the bartender said it was last call and the only two of us in the place was me and it, so … The Yankee shortstop was spotted yesterday leaving one…
May 23, 2013, 3:15 PM EDT
Remember all those offseason quotes from general manager Terry Ryan about how the Twins were focused on improving last season’s terrible starting rotation? Their actual moves didn’t quite match the talk, as they signed Kevin Corrreia (who’s been decent) and Mike Pelfrey (who’s been awful) and traded for Vance Worley (who went from Opening Day…
May 23, 2013, 1:50 PM EDT
Derek Lowe, who was designated for assignment by the Rangers earlier this week, has been released after passing through waivers unclaimed. This could be the end for Lowe, who hasn’t posted an ERA under 5.00 since 2010 and allowed 13 runs in 13 innings in a low-leverage relief role for the Rangers at age 40.…
May 23, 2013, 1:30 PM EDT
Craig Robinson lives in Mexico. And based on when he tweets, I get the sense that he stays up late nights after going to Mexican baseball games and stuff. And I’m guessing he also has a lot of conversations with friends that start with “so, like, what if — seriously, now, listen — what if…
May 23, 2013, 1:18 PM EDT
Earlier this week Adam Eaton suffered a setback in his recovery from a sprained elbow ligament, but Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports that an MRI exam revealed no structural damage. That’s obviously good news for the 24-year-old outfielder, although according to Piecoro he’ll still take 2-3 weeks off before resuming his rehab. Eaton…
May 23, 2013, 12:30 PM EDT
Not a ton going on today, so Kay and I talk about the pitchers in the mix.
May 23, 2013, 12:16 PM EDT
As you might expect considering he hasn’t played well for two years and is an impending free agent the Red Sox won’t try to negotiate a long-term deal with center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury before he hits the open market. General manager Ben Cherington revealed that on WEEI radio in Boston, saying: “We agreed before the…
May 23, 2013, 11:51 AM EDT
Jon Rauch passed through waivers unclaimed after being designated for assignment last week and the Marlins released the veteran reliever two months into a one-year, $1 million contract. Rauch was terrible for Miami, allowing 14 runs in 16.2 innings, but he had a 3.59 ERA with good secondary numbers for the Mets last season and…
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