3. Jake Bauers
With a job on the line, Jake Bauers is struggling to hit anything in Arizona. He struck out twice against the Reds last night (seven times overall), in addition to having a ball pop out out of his glove at first base (defense is supposed to be his calling card).
He’s batting .167 in Cactus League play. His only saving grace is his ability to draw a free pass. He’s been walked seven times in 18 official at bats (seven strikeouts).
I don’t know how the Indians can spin Bauers making the team at this point. He’s out of options, but will the front office give him the nod even if it means the Indians won’t be putting their best product on the field?
If it’s truly a competition, Bobby Bradley is winning this competition, and it shouldn’t be close. Spring Training doesn’t make Hall of Famers, but Bradley’s 8-of-20 with two homers and a whopping 1.359 OPS.
Bauers’ defense gets talked up a lot, but Bradley’s come through the system at first base. It’s not like he’s making a position change. He’s 24 and has played at the Triple-A level enough. Strikeouts are a concern, but he’s only whiffed three times.
Letting Bauers go won’t be easy for Tribe fans still haunted by Gio Urshela. The Tribe gave the third basemen every opportunity to hold onto the job, but he couldn’t hit a lick while wearing a Cleveland uniform.
After a stint in Toronto, the Yankees scooped him up and Urshela’s become a big-time contributor in New York’s lineup.