In one swoop Thursday morning, Trevor Bauer made the Cleveland Indians cringe, the unemployed free-agent class think and the players' union listen.
In addition to airing his grievances about the arbitration process and the “character assassination” he endured, Bauer presented his own radical idea for getting the money he believes he's worth.
As free agents have struggled to land long-term deals over the past two winters, the 28-year-old believes that signing only one-year contracts would make him affordable to all 30 teams, even with an annual price tag of at least $35 million.
“I’ll go year-to-year my entire career," said Bauer, who is scheduled to become a free agent after the 2020 season. “Why would you lock yourself in a situation that may not make you happy? I think that’s highly inefficient. Everybody is afraid of risk. Everyone is scared.
“It’s still unproven how clubs feel about it, but looking at the market, and studying it, I identified for myself personally that it’s the best route to go forward."
Bauer figures that one-year contracts would be irresistible for all parties, particularly with the way the last two winters have gone.
“I think it solves a lot of problems in this day and age," he said, “which is [teams’ ] increased reliance on aging curves and projection of future performance. Baseball used to pay for what you’ve done, and baseball is now shifting to projecting that they’re going to do.