Trevor Bauer appears to be a very odd person.
He clearly had tremendous baseball talent coming out of UCLA in 2011, because he was the third overall pick in the draft, by the Diamondbacks. Other players coming out of that first round picked after Bauer include quite a few who have become very good big-league players already, including Anthony Rendon, Jose Fernandez, Sonny Gray, Kolten Wong, Joe Panik and Jackie Bradley Jr.
Bauer had some odd habits, including throwing his first warmup pitch every time he came into a game over everyone's head to the backstop. You'd think someone would have told him this wasn't really cool, but either no one did or he ignored them. He clashed with Diamondbacks management and in particular with current Cubs catcher Miguel Montero. Here's a USA TODAY article from 2012 that explains that dispute:
Diamondbacks 2011 All-Star catcher Miguel Montero, who couldn't be reached Wednesday, was the most vocal critic of Bauer. He was incensed with the number of times Bauer shook off his signs, including the first pitch of his first major-league game against the Atlanta Braves. Montero publicly vented after Bauer's second start against the Los Angeles Dodgers when Bauer told reporters that he needed to tell Montero how he liked to call a game. "What?" Montero said. "He's going to tell me how to do my job?" Bauer, who majored in mechanical engineering at UCLA, is a loner, several Diamondbacks told USA TODAY Sports. He resisted advice from the coaching staff. He tuned out the veterans. He even refused to listen to younger teammates. He was going to do things his way.
Well. This is from three years ago and in 2014, Montero said the feud was over, when the D'backs faced the Tribe:
"That's the best I've ever seen him," Montero said. "I hope he continues to do that." Montero raved about Bauer's ability to command his fastball, something that made his curveball hard to hit. He also said all of Bauer's pitches came out of the same plane, making it hard to lay off the breaking ball when it was out of the zone. "It was really impressive," Montero said. "I tip my hat. He did a great job. I'm honestly happy for him. I hope he's figured it out because he has an opportunity to be a really good pitcher in the big leagues."
As Montero said, Bauer does still have a chance to be an excellent major-league pitcher. The talent is unquestionably there, though he did lead the American League in walks in 2015. The question is, if the Cubs did trade for him, would he listen to Chris Bosio? Bosio's helped quite a few pitchers, as we all know, in his time as Cubs pitching coach. Bauer might be his biggest project.
Even with his somewhat mediocre results in the Cleveland rotation the last two years, Bauer posted 1.5 bWAR in both 2014 and 2015. That has value. He will be 25 in January and made $1.94 million last year, though he is not arb-eligible until 2017.
Dealing for Bauer carries risk, but it might be worth it. Would you do it?