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Former Cy Young Winner Trevor Bauer Will Make LMB Debut Monday

 Leif Skodnick  |    Apr 13th, 2024 8:00am EDT

Trevor Bauer pitches during a spring training game between the Diablos Rojos and the New York Yankees at Estadio Alfredo Harp Helu on March 24, 2024, in Mexico City, Mexico. (Photo by Manuel Velasquez/Getty Images)

Trevor Bauer, the 2020 National League Cy Young Award winner, will make his first regular season start in the Liga Mexicana de Beisbol on April 15, taking the mound for the Diablos Rojos del Mexico’s home opener against the Tigres de Quintana Roo.

Bauer, 33, signed a five-game deal with the Diablos Rojos, which includes an escape clause should a Major League Baseball team sign him.

He appeared in one preseason game for the Diablos Rojos. On March 24, he pitched three shutout innings, allowing four hits, walking two, and striking out three in the opener of the club’s two-game exhibition series against the New York Yankees.

Diablos Rojos manager Lorenzo Bundy told Irving Furlong of Septima Entrada, a media outlet covering Mexican baseball, that Bauer will likely pitch three innings on Monday. The starter fell ill last week and could not complete his regular workouts.

The Liga Mexicana de Beisbol, specifically Mexico City, is an interesting choice for Bauer’s latest stop as he tries to get back into Major League Baseball. Bauer is a pitcher who relies on movement, and the simple fact is that pitches move less in the high altitude of Mexico City, where Estadio Alfredo Harp Helu, the Diablos Rojos home park, is approximately 7,300 feet above sea level.

In a video posted to his X account, Bauer threw a bullpen at Estadio Alfredo Harp Helu and described how he expects his pitches to perform.

“Splitter and four-seam [fastball] will be good. The curveball and slider will probably be a little less movement than I’m used to,” Bauer said in the video “Pitching on the Moon.”

Bauer is still an effective starting pitcher, as evidenced by his performance in NPB last year, where he went 10-4 with a 2.76 ERA for the Yokohama DeNA BayStars.

“There is no doubt he remains one of the best starting pitchers in baseball, and with our contract parameters he is both available and affordable to any MLB that wants to upgrade their starting pitching,” Bauer’s agent Jon Fetterolf told Jon Heyman of the New York Post in March.

Whether an MLB team will sign him will depend on the general manager deciding that the benefit of what Bauer brings to the mound outweighs the negative public relations hit a team would take to sign the pitcher.

Bauer received the harshest domestic violence suspension in MLB history. This 324-game ban was later reduced to 192 games by an arbitrator following an MLB investigation into allegations of sexual assault made by a San Diego woman and two women in Ohio.

Bauer last pitched in an MLB game on June 28, 2021, allowing eight hits and a walk in six innings of work for Los Angeles at Dodgers Stadium, striking out eight and allowing two earned runs in a 3-2 win against the San Francisco Giants.

He made 17 starts with the Dodgers that year, posting a 2.59 ERA and striking out 137 in 107.2 innings. Bauer signed a three-year, $102-million deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers in February 2021, having won the Cy Young Award with the Cincinnati Reds during the COVID-19 Pandemic shortened 2020 season.

When MLB’s investigation began, Bauer was placed on administrative leave on July 2, 2021. The results of the MLB investigation into Bauer’s conduct have never been made public, and Bauer, who has steadfastly denied any wrongdoing, was never charged with a crime. The suspension was officially reduced on Dec. 22, 2022, and the Dodgers designated Bauer for assignment on Jan. 6, 2023, officially releasing him six days later.

He returned to professional baseball with the Yokohama DeNA BayStars last season, and while there have been rumors of MLB teams interested in signing him, Bauer remains a free agent.

“I think there’s a chance,” Bundy, Bauer’s manager in Mexico, told Septima Entrada in Spanish when asked if he thinks Bauer’s stay in Mexico will be extended beyond the initial five-game deal.

“We’ll see what happens after the first five starts. Obviously… it depends on whether there’s an opportunity in the Major Leagues or other things. It’s Trevor’s decision and a decision for the team’s directors.”