Trevor Bauer won his arbitration case Wednesday. So did Gerrit Cole.
The arbitration numbers for Bauer and Cole were almost identical. Bauer filed at $13 million, the Indians offered $11 million. Cole filed at $13.5 million, the Astros offered $11.4 million.
Bauer and Cole both went to UCLA. Bauer was a first-round draft pick in the 2011 draft. So was Cole. Cole was the first player selected overall, Bauer was third.
Bauer is 28. So is Cole. Cole was born in California. So was Bauer.
Despite being teammates for three years at UCLA, Bauer and Cole are not friends. Probably because they can’t get rid of one another. Even their statistics hang out in the same neighborhood.
During their major league careers, Bauer has pitched in 160 games, Cole has pitched in 159. Bauer has two career shutouts, so does Cole. Bauer has issued eight intentional walks, Cole six. Bauer has hit 41 batters, Cole 39.
Cole has two career balks. So does Bauer. Bauer has given up an average of 8.2 hits per nine innings. So has Cole. Cole has averaged 9.3 strikeouts per nine innings, Bauer 9.2.
Opposing batters have hit .242 vs. Bauer and .243 vs. Cole. Batters have reached base because of an error 26 times against Cole, 27 times against Bauer. Bauer has thrown an average of 3.95 pitches per plate appearance, Cole 3.88. The percentage of swinging strikes against Bauer is 17.3. For Cole: 17.4.
The balls put in play percentage against Cole is 26.4. Against Bauer: 26.8. Hitters’ contact percentage against Bauer is 75.9. Against Cole: 76.1. Home runs hit by right-handed batters against Bauer: 45. Against Cole: 45. Home runs given up on the road: Cole 42, Bauer 39.
Number of base runners who have been caught trying to steal second against Bauer: 28. Against Cole: 28.
Career losses: Cole 47, Bauer 47. Number of times Bauer had the lead when he left the game, but the bullpen blew the lead: 15. Number of times that has happened to Cole: 14. Number of times Cole left the game as the potential losing pitcher, but his team rallied to win after he left: 18. Number of times that’s happened to Bauer: 18.
Run support Bauer has gotten in his 150 career starts: 4.5 per game. Run support Cole has gotten in his 159 career starts: 4.6 per game. Average number of innings per start for his career: Cole 6.2, Bauer 5.9. Average number of pitches per start: Bauer 99, Cole 98.
The following is just from the 2018 season: Walks per nine innings — Cole 2.9, same as Bauer. Walk percentage (percentage of all plate appearances that ended with a walk) — Bauer 8.0, same as Cole. Pitches per plate appearance — Bauer 3.9, Cole 4.0. Percentage of first-pitch strikes — Cole 63.4, Bauer 63.6.
Number of quality starts: Bauer 20, Cole 20. Average number of innings pitched per game: Cole 6.3, same as Bauer. Pitches per game started: Bauer 104, Cole 102.
Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I therefore submit to you that Trevor Bauer and Gerrit Cole are the exact same pitcher. Even though their personalities couldn’t be more different, when they take the mound, they are the same dude.
What does this mean? More than you think. Cole can become a free agent after this season. When that happens, the Indians should attempt to sign Cole to a three-year deal for whatever they think Bauer is worth.
Bauer will become a free agent after the 2020 season. When that happens, the Astros should attempt to sign Bauer to a three-year deal for whatever they think Cole is worth. If both teams are successful, both teams will have replaced the pitcher that they lost with the pitcher that they lost.
Still with me?
It would be like a delayed trade, and each team’s equipment manager would thank the other’s, because, of course, Bauer and Cole almost wear the same uniform number. Cole 45, Bauer 47.
It just keeps getting better, doesn’t it?
Then, a year later, Indians and Astros officials can get together during the winter to discuss whether the delayed trade needs tweaking. Say, for instance, Bauer is getting too noisy in Houston, and the Astros would like to trade him. They could make a straight one-for-one, Bauer-for-Cole deal with the Indians.
It would work for both teams because both teams would be getting back the same pitcher, at the price that team thought the pitcher they were getting was worth when he left them as a free agent.
See? Everybody wins!
Both pitchers could then finish their Hall of Fame careers, and, if there’s any justice in this world, be inducted into Cooperstown the same day, perhaps even giving the same speech.
I’ve got some other ideas for that ceremony, but I’ve got to go lie down now. My head hurts.
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