CLEVELAND — Since early June, the Cleveland Indians have cut the Minnesota Twins’ lead in the American League Central Division from 11.5 games to four entering tonight’s series finale against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre.
With the Indians having 10 more games against the Twins over the final two-plus months of the regular season, the expectation of Cleveland being sellers at the trade deadline is dwindling, according to ESPN senior baseball writer Buster Olney.
The Indians have not given a hard signal to the industry whether they are going to be buyers or sellers, but rival executives believe that the closer Cleveland is to Minnesota -- and the Indians have cut the margin to three games -- the less likely it is that Trevor Bauer will be traded,” Olney writes.
The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal added that neither Bauer nor Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Matthew Boyd are expected to be moved before the deadline.
“For a variety of reasons, rival execs are growing increasingly skeptical that Bauer and Boyd will be moved, and no one seems to have any idea what the Mets will do with Syndergaard, who is drawing interest from the Astros and others but pitching at a diminished value compared with previous seasons due to his 4.36 ERA,” Rosenthal wrote.
“The Indians are just three games behind the Twins in the AL Central, and their chances of winning the division likely would be better with Bauer than with the players they receive in return.”
In 23 starts this season, Bauer has posted a 9-7 record and 3.49 earned run average over a league-high 152.1 innings pitched. Bauer has allowed 118 hits, 59 walks, 68 runs, 59 of which have been earned, and 22 home runs against 179 strikeouts in 2019.
Bauer pitched against the Blue Jays Tuesday and took a shutout into the eighth inning before the bullpen surrendered a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the ninth inning and the game the next frame. Over 7.2 innings of work, Bauer allowed only three hits and three walks against nine strikeouts.
Bauer has been a double-digit winner in his previous four seasons, totaling 52 victories from 2015-2018. Additionally, Bauer, a 2018 American League All-Star, has struck out at least 143 batters in each of the last six years, with his single-season career-best, 221, coming in 28 appearances in 2018.
Over his last seven starts, Bauer is 4-1 with a 3.68 ERA and 62 strikeouts against 14 walks over 44.0 innings pitched.