Even though the Indians handed out the two largest free-agent contracts in franchise history this offseason, right-hander Trevor Bauer might have been the team's most important acquisition then. It's not often you can acquire a 22-year-old who has been rated as one of the game's 15 best prospects in each of the last two years by Baseball America.
Bauer, who was acquired from the Diamondbacks as part of the Shin-Soo Choo three-team trade with the Reds, made his first start for Cleveland on Saturday as the replacement for the injured Scott Kazmir. He walked seven in his five innings of work against the Rays, allowing three runs on two hits. Bauer struck out two and threw 59 of 105 pitches for strikes (54 percent).
It's a concern anytime a pitcher walks seven batters, but it's an even bigger concern for Bauer because Arizona was willing to trade him due (in part) to his unwillingness to adjust. One of the adjustments that he was reportedly unwilling to make involved being more aggressive in the strike zone and not nibbling with his swing-and-miss stuff. It appears that adjustment has yet to be made with the Indians.
One start doesn't mean much in the grand scheme of things, but the Tribe surely want their young hurler to throw more strikes and do a better job of trusting his stuff going forward. Sooner rather than later I'm sure, but every young pitcher requires patience, even when they were the No. 1 overall pick in the draft just two years ago. Bauer and the Indians will have to endure some growing pains, growing pains that will inevitably include some adjustments.