Skip to content

Miguel Montero on Trevor Bauer: “He never wanted to listen”

Feb 12, 2013, 6:48 AM EDT

Trevor Bauer Getty Images

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.

In light of that, unloading him for Didi Gregorius and Tony Sipp had just as much if not more to do with the Dbacks not liking the cut of Bauer’s jib than his pitching chops.

Adam Green of Arizona Sports.com spoke to Diamondbacks catcher Miguel Montero and Montero was unusually forthcoming about just how little Arizona cared for that jib:

“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.”

Yikes.

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.

Latest Posts
  1. Ian Kennedy on track to return from the disabled list Saturday

    Apr 20, 2015, 11:01 PM EDT

    San Francisco Giants v San Diego Padres Getty Images

    Padres right-hander Ian Kennedy landed on the disabled list after exiting his season debut on April 9 with a mild left hamstring strain, but he’s on track to return Saturday against the Dodgers.

  2. Jonathan Lucroy headed to disabled list with broken toe

    Apr 20, 2015, 10:35 PM EDT

    jonathan lucroy getty Getty Images

    Things are quickly going from bad to worse for the Brewers.

  3. Reds manager Bryan Price goes on profanity-laden tirade against media

    Apr 20, 2015, 10:06 PM EDT

    Pittsburgh Pirates v Cincinnati Reds Getty Images

    This from Reds manager Bryan Price is not a good look at all.

  4. Cubs-Pirates delayed for 23 minutes after fan hit by foul ball behind home plate

    Apr 20, 2015, 9:49 PM EDT

    PNC Park

    Tonight’s Cubs-Pirates game was delayed for 23 minutes after a woman was hit in the back of the head by a foul ball in the top of the second inning.

  5. Ben Zobrist to rest for a couple of days after getting cortisone shot in knee

    Apr 20, 2015, 8:55 PM EDT

    Oakland Athletics v Houston Astros Getty Images

    Ben Zobrist left Sunday’s game due to left knee soreness and he’s now slated to miss at least another couple of days after receiving a cortisone shot.

  6. Justin Verlander undergoes MRI which confirms triceps strain

    Apr 20, 2015, 7:29 PM EDT

    Justin Verlander AP

    Tigers right-hander Justin Verlander had to cut a simulated game short last Wednesday and he’s currently in shutdown mode due to continued soreness in his throwing arm.

  7. Mets announce injury timetables for Travis d’Arnaud and Jerry Blevins

    Apr 20, 2015, 6:21 PM EDT

    mets logo

    The Mets won their eighth straight game Sunday against the Marlins to improve to 10-3 on the year, but it came as a cost, as catcher Travis d’Arnaud and left-handed reliever Jerry Blevins were forced to leave the game due to injuries. Today we learned a little bit more about how long they’ll be sidelined.

  8. Dodgertown lives

    Apr 20, 2015, 4:50 PM EDT

    Dodgertown

    It’s been a facility in flux since the Dodgers left in 2008, but it has a new life under new management.

  9. Brewers second baseman Scooter Gennett hurt himself showering

    Apr 20, 2015, 4:00 PM EDT

    Shower

    It was bad enough that he needed stitches.

  10. Jorge De La Rosa set to rejoin the Rockies’ rotation tonight

    Apr 20, 2015, 2:22 PM EDT

    jorge de la rosa getty Getty Images

    Last season he threw 184 innings with a 4.11 ERA and 139/67 K/BB ratio.

  11. Braves pitcher Andrew McKirahan releases as statement regarding his PED suspension

    Apr 20, 2015, 1:15 PM EDT

    Andrew McKirahan Getty Images

    And he actually owns up to taking stuff. None of that “I have no idea how that got in my system” rebop from him.

  12. I discussed the “minor league city downgrades” list on NPR over the weekend

    Apr 20, 2015, 12:30 PM EDT

    El Paso

    People from El Paso are still mad about that. Oh well.

  13. Hanley Ramirez leaves Red Sox game “due to illness”

    Apr 20, 2015, 11:50 AM EDT

    Hanley Ramirez Red Sox Getty Images

    Allen Craig replaced him in left field against the Orioles.

  14. After two Tommy John surgeries Brandon Beachy is hoping to join the Dodgers in June

    Apr 20, 2015, 11:19 AM EDT

    Brandon Beachy AP AP

    Beachy is 28 years old with a 3.23 ERA and 275 strikeouts in 268 career innings.

  15. You don’t have to trust Alex Rodriguez. Nothing requires you to do that at all.

    Apr 20, 2015, 11:02 AM EDT

    Alex Rodriguez AP

    The greatest trick baseball columnists ever pulled was convincing the world that the way they frame a topic is the only way to approach the topic.

  16. Garrett Richards returned from knee surgery throwing gas

    Apr 20, 2015, 10:15 AM EDT

    garrett richards getty Getty Images

    His health is a huge key to the Angels’ success this season.

  17. Joe Buck has a truly awful suggestion about how to improve MLB broadcasts

    Apr 20, 2015, 9:52 AM EDT

    Joe Buck

    If you hate in-game interviews of managers, just wait for in-game interviews of players.

Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. K. Bryant (4518)
  2. D. Salazar (3987)
  3. D. Span (3858)
  4. C. Gomez (3623)
  5. J. Reyes (3525)
  1. D. Mesoraco (3473)
  2. Y. Puig (3435)
  3. D. Travis (3407)
  4. J. Verlander (3315)
  5. A. Rodriguez (3295)