Trevor Bauer Dazzles in Latest Outing as Cardinals’ Pitching Woes Continue

Getty Images Free agent pitcher Trevor Bauer

After posting a 71-91 record and finishing in last place in 2023, the St. Louis Cardinals had a lot to work on during the offseason. The highest on their list of priorities were starting pitching and addressing a staff that had a 4.79 team ERA in 2023.

Team president John Mozeliak went to work, signing three established veterans to fill the bill. Righthanders Lance Lynn, Kyle Gibson and Sonny Gray were added to complement holdovers Miles Mikolas and Steven Matz. That group, while filled with established arms, didn’t have any glitzy names, and Gray was essentially considered the ace of the staff.

As the runner-up to last year’s AL Cy Young Award, Gray was penciled in to be the Cardinals’ opening-day starter. However, a hamstring injury on March 4 has raised questions about whether he will be on schedule for that March 28 tilt.

That’s left fans and media wondering if Mozeliak might take a flyer on another available pitcher still on the market. The team is considered out of the running for remaining free agents Blake Snell and Jordan Montgomery, but a troubled star with a low price tag has emerged in some spring chatter.

Controversial star Trevor Bauer — the 2020 NL Cy Young Award winner — is available, and he would also be affordable in terms of the club’s budget. Despite his considerable baggage — in October 2023 he settled a legal battle with a woman who accused him of sexual assault in 2021, which he denies and for which he was never charged  — many in Cardinal Nation believe he could be the answer to some of the team’s pitching problems.

Could Trevor Bauer Realistically Become a Cardinal?

In February, Bauer himself said he “would love to” play for the Cardinals, as he continues his apology tour across Major League Baseball.

Of course, Bauer would likely love to play anywhere, as he has found himself on the outside of MLB looking in following a record 194-game suspension. Now clear to sign with any team, the free agent has been frozen out thus far.

His downfall stems from allegations of sexual assault by Lindsey Hill, who was granted a temporary domestic violence restraining order on June 28, 2021. She alleged that Bauer had physically and sexually assaulted her on two separate occasions, according to reports.

Bauer acknowledged that he did have a sexual relationship with Hill but claimed that it was mutually consensual. Prosecutors ultimately declined to charge Bauer with any crime in the matter, and the civil lawsuits were settled in October 2023.

Since the accusations and the suspension, Bauer has been considered poisonous to any MLB franchise that would bring him on board. Add in the fact that he has been considered somewhat eccentric and even volatile by teammates at times, and it’s a tough sell.

The St. Louis Cardinals have shied away from controversial stars in the past. But with Gray’s injury and other questions about the rest of the rotation, is it time for Mozeliak to roll the dice on a former Cy Young winner? Bauer’s recent appearance is a signal that he certainly could, and it would be justified.

Bauer Can Still Be Masterful on the Mound

On Sunday, March 10, Bauer threw on American soil for the first time since being suspended in July 2021.

Pitching for the Japanese traveling team, the Asian Breeze, Bauer dominated against a lineup of LA’s minor leaguers, hitting 99 mph on the radar gun. About 150-200 fans in attendance watched their former ace attempt to come back from exile. After the outing, the pitcher said that he felt like he could still be a force at the big league level.

“I just stay ready,’’ Bauer said, “and maybe people somehow will remember that I’m still one of the best pitchers in the world.’’

As the Cardinals get closer to facing the Los Angeles Dodgers on March 28 for opening day, is there a chance that Trevor Bauer might be wearing the Birds on the Bat?

While Mozeliak has previously stated that the club had no interest in the enigmatic ace, have present conditions changed his mind? Those are huge questions being considered in Cardinal Nation right now.

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