‘Zero Chance’ Braves Sign Ex-Cy Young Winner to Replace Spencer Strider: Reporter

Spencer Strider

Getty The Athletic's David O'Brien argued there's "zero chance" the Atlanta Braves sign Trevor Bauer to replace Spencer Strider.

The Atlanta Braves could miss ace pitcher Spencer Strider for the rest of the season. But that doesn’t mean the team is interested in adding a starter such as Trevor Bauer from the free agent market.

The Athletic’s David O’Brien argued on April 8 that there’s “zero chance” the Braves will sign Bauer.

“That’s why they have all this depth,” O’Brien said while appearing on 92.9 The Game. “Everybody immediately goes, ‘you know they’re going to go out on the market’ like there’s great pitchers available in the market in April. There’s not.

“Nobody is getting rid of their best pitchers, and that’s what it would take. You wouldn’t go out and get a pitcher unless he was clearly better than what you’ve got waiting, and they had guys competing for the fifth spot.”

Bauer won the National League Cy Young award in 2020. But he hasn’t appeared in an MLB regular season game since June 2021. On July 2, 2021, the MLB placed Bauer on administrative league while opening an investigation into sexual assault allegations against him.

The investigation resulted in Bauer receiving a 2-year suspension without pay for violating the league’s Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Policy.

Bauer’s suspension was reduced to 194 games (instead of 324 contests). But the Los Angeles Dodgers designated him for assignment and then released him in January 2023.

Last season, Bauer pitched in Japan. He announced in March 2024 that he would begin this season in the Mexican League.

Strider left Atlanta’s home opener on April 5 complaining of right elbow discomfort. The Braves placed him on the 15-day injured list on April 7.

Could the Braves Pursue Trevor Bauer?

O’Brien clearly implied that Bauer is still available in MLB free agency because he’s a “marginal or OK” pitcher at this point in his career. Bauer did turn 33 in January and hasn’t pitched in the majors in nearly three years.

But O’Brien also argued that the Braves won’t be interested in Bauer because of his “baggage.”

“The Braves place vetting players ahead of almost any other team I know of, character, clubhouse, all of that No. 1 priority for the Braves, well in addition to talent obviously,” O’Brien said. “They talk about it all the time, clubhouse chemistry and how much vetting they do about players, their background, their clubhouse reputation.

“You’re telling me when they vet Trevor Bauer they’re gonna go, ‘You know what, everybody says get this guy he’s great in the clubhouse, he’s the teammate they want.’ No.”

Before his administrative leave in July 2021, Bauer had an 8-5 record with a 2.59 ERA. He also had 137 strikeouts in 107.2 innings.

When he won the Cy Young in 2020, he led the NL with a 1.73 ERA and 0.795 WHIP.

In his 10-year MLB career, Bauer has been a strikeout pitcher like Strider. Bauer has punched out 1,416 batters while posting an 83-69 record with a 3.79 ERA in 1,297.2 innings.

But O’Brien made it clear that’s not worth much to the Braves because of his reputation.

How the Braves Replace Spencer Strider

Bauer may not be the answer, but the Braves have to find some kind of replacement for Strider. Surgery is still on the table, and he could miss the rest of the season.

Fortunately, the Braves do have starting pitcher depth.

2023 All-Star starter Bryce Elder didn’t begin this season in the team’s starting rotation. He’s the most obvious choice to take Strider’s place.

Ian Anderson and A.J. Smith-Shawver also have MLB starting experience. Anderson went 9-5 with a 3.58 ERA in 2021 and started for the Braves during the postseason on their way to the World Series title.

Hurston Waldrep and Huascar Ynoa are other starting pitchers that could help the Braves replace Strider.

Last season, Strider went 20-5 with a 3.86 ERA. He led the MLB with 281 strikeouts in 186.2 innings.

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