By Hal McCOY
CINCINNATI — To say Trevor Bauer is different is to say there is a difference between a turtle shell and a soup pan. Does he march to the beat of a different drummer? He is the drummer, with his own beat.
For example, to those who hold hope that the Cincinnati Reds sign him to a long-term deal, well, it isn’t going to happen.
When asked about that Monday, Bauer did not equivocate, remaining true to his convictions. He is a One-Year Man. One year contracts only. He told a friend if he ever signed more than a one-year deal that friend could shoot him at close range in the groin area with a paint gun.
“I do intend to sign one-year contracts for my entire career,” he said. “I’m not against signing with the same team, by any means. The reason behind that is that I want to be on a contender, to be a part of a team to which I can contribute to winning.
“There are a couple of things I’d like to do in baseball (wear a World Series championship ring),” he said. “Ultimately, it is all centered around winning. The more games we are able to win, the more chance that would happen.”
He means, of course, re-signing with the Reds after the 2020 season when he is eligible for free agency
So does he look at the current rotation, of which he is huge piece, and see that winning culture — Luis Castillo, Sonny Gray, Alex Wood, Anthony DeSclafani and himself?
“It is exciting — a lot of good arms, a lot of good talent,” he said. “There are a lot of special moments we can accomplish.
“I like good people and it seems they have a lot of good people around here,” he said. “There is a good buzz in the clubhouse around what we have going on, the talent in the room and what we want to accomplish. This is a relaxed group. This is a talented group.”
The buzz was at bee-hive decibels when the Reds acquired the ultra-talent right handed pitcher from the Cleveland Indians at the trade deadline. The buzz softened a bit after his first start in Atlanta during which he gave up three runs and seven hits in six innings and 109 pitches.
It was evident his stuff is top-shelf, but on this day his location was like a lost hiker in the forest.
“There was definitely an adrenaline kick,” he said. “It wasn’t overpowering, but it was there and that’s probably why my stuff was so good.
“I wasn’t able to throw anything consistently for strikes,” he added. “After the trade I wasn’t able to get into any solid routine with packing and traveling.
“There was multiple days between starts when I didn’t throw and I normally throw every day,” he said. “That contributed. Working with a new catcher for the first time. Being in a new stadium, that was my first time in Atlanta. I was facing a lot of hitters for the first time. All of these things have some effect. I’m not sure how much each of them had,”
Bauer, though, did say he will be better when he makes start No. 2 for the Reds Thursday against the Chicago Cubs.
Stacked in front of Bauer’s locker, previously occupied by Tanner Roark, was a large cardboard box and a Cleveland Indians travel bag.
Asked how he felt, he slumped in his black leather chair and said, “Been pretty hectic. I’m still trying to get a grasp of everybody’s personalities and get a lay of the land. There is a lot of fast-paced stuff going on for me and I’m trying to slow down. Right now? I’m tired.”
THE REDS PICKED UP what they hope is bullpen help when the Atlanta Braves put starting pitcher Kevin Gausman on waivers.
The Reds claimed him and that’s a big old, “Say, what?”
When last seen the Reds were beating Gausman’s to a quivering pulp when he started a game against them in Atlanta last Friday. He gave up five runs and eight hits in 4 2/3 innings, a game the Reds won, 5-2.
It was the last he would see with Atlanta. Using mostly two pitches, fastball and curve, the 28-year-old right hander was 3-and-7 with a 6.19 earned run average for 16 starts for the Braves this season.
Originally a sixth-round draft pick by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2010, his career record with Baltimore and Atlanta is 47-and-61 with a 4.30 earned run average.
The Reds, though, believe pitching coaches Derek Johnson and Caleb Cotham can work out his kinks quickly and they plopped him directly into the bullpen.
“We’re very excited that we could acquire Gausman,” said manager David Bell, preparing to serve the fifth of his six-game suspension. “We see him helping us a lot in his bullpen role. He is still young and he has had success. There is a lot of upside.”
As for converting to the bullpen, Bell said, “We’ll have to help him with that. He’s been a relief pitcher before and we’ll have to help him as quickly as we can to get him acclimated.”
IT WAS EVIDENT something was amiss with Derek Dietrich. After a monstrous start the first couple of months, the only way Dietrich was able to get on base lately was to get hit by a pitch (23 times).
What was wrong? Dietrich has a sore shoulder and the team placed him on the injured list before Monday’s game.
“His shoulder has been bugging him and it got to the point yesterday (Sunday in Atlanta) where it progressed from more like a nuisance to a stabbing feeling in his left shoulder,” said Bell. “It got to the point where he was really trying to fight through it. Adding up all the things I’ve seen, it probably affected his swing.”
To replace Dietrich, the team selected the contract of outfielder Brian O’Grady from the Class AAA Louisville Bats and designated infielder Blake Trahan for assignment, removing him from the 40-man roster.
“O’Grady has had a nice year, we saw him in spring training and we feel like it is a great opportunity because he has worked very hard to get to this point,” said Bell.
“He is a good fit for our roster because we’re losing the left handed bat of Dietrich (O’Grady bats left handed),” said Bell. “He’ll get an opportunity against right handed starters and he is another left handed hitter off the bench.”