Bauer accuses Indians of character assassination

GOODYEAR, Ariz. — All-Star pitcher Trevor Bauer said the final 10 minutes of his salary arbitration hearing with the Cleveland Indians was “character assassination” against him.

Bauer beat Cleveland in arbitration for the second straight year. The three-person panel awarded him $13 million on Wednesday instead of the Indians’ $11 million offer.

“They spent the last 10 minutes of the case trying a character assassination,” Bauer told reporters Thursday. “I learned that giving to charity is a bad thing. I learned that agreeing with someone on a podcast just for the sake of argument that I was worth $10.5 million … should be the definitive answer why I’m not worth $13 [million].”

A day after the decision, Bauer said he viewed the process as very intellectual and is unemotional about it. He said it didn’t sour his feelings about the Indians.

“You never know how the character assassination plays, and considering that’s what ended it,” Bauer said, “it kind of put a black mark on what I thought was a really argued case on both sides. There’s not room for that. Let’s just stick to the numbers. Let the numbers tell the story.

“You don’t need to bring character assassination into it, especially for charitable campaigns.”

Bauer was awarded $6,525,000 last year, more than he had expected to win in arbitration, and donated more than $100,000 total, giving to a different charity each day during a campaign that he called “The 69 Days of Giving.”

“They don’t mention that I gave to 68 charities or that I donated more than $100,000,” Bauer said. “Or that the whole point of the campaign was to bring awareness to all those charities, past the money I was giving them. Nothing about that. They just tried to say that I was bad for donating or for running that campaign.

“[But] the arbitrator didn’t see it as a negative.”

The 28-year-old right-hander finished sixth in AL Cy Young Award voting after going 12-6 with a 2.21 ERA. He missed six weeks late in the season after getting hit on the right leg by a line drive.

Bauer anticipates going through arbitration next year. He is eligible for free agency after the 2020 season.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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