If the Yankees don’t wind up on Trevor Bauer’s short list of preferred destinations this offseason, the newest Cy Young winner insisted Wednesday night that it won’t be due to any perceived feud with their current ace, Gerrit Cole.
Bauer and Cole reportedly were enemies as well as teammates during their time together as All-America pitchers at UCLA, mostly because of their vastly different personalities. Back in spring training this year, Bauer also took a veiled shot at Cole by suggesting that the Astros’ pitchers (while he was there) relied on a foreign substance to increase their spin rates.
Whatever the reasons for the animosity, Bauer denied Wednesday night there was any lingering problem between the two.
"I certainly would talk to him about it if it’s something that he was open to," Bauer said after being announced the NL Cy Young winner. "We don’t have much of a relationship I would say. He lives his life and I live mine, and we just don’t cross paths a whole lot. It’s certainly not, I guess, the hate-filled relationship that many people in the media believe it is, or they try to make it out to be.
"We had our differences in college and that was nine or 10 years ago at this point. I’m a different person now than I was then and I’m sure the the same is true for him. At the end of the day, I want to win ... I think if you look at trying to win a World Series, you want to put the most intense competitors together, you want to put the best talent together, and see what you can do. So certainly if I was given an opportunity to do that, and to play alongside of him again, I’d be more than open to it."
Bauer, as this winter’s most coveted free-agent pitcher, obviously wants to keep his options open, and that includes the deep-pocketed Yankees, despite their apparent reluctance to go on a spending spree this offseason. Bauer did sound enthusiastic about a potential reunion with Yankees pitching coach Matt Blake after their somewhat limited interaction in Cleveland.
"I have a ton of respect for Matt, with his knowledge, and what he’s able to do leading people, and leading a staff, and player development," Bauer said. "I just haven’t had the chance to work with him really on a day-to-day basis. Perhaps some time in the future that will be a reality."