Trevor Bauer: Arbitration hearing with Indians ended with 'character assassination'

Passan: Bauer may be most outspoken MLB player (1:50)

Jeff Passan describes the situation between Trevor Bauer and the Indians after his arbitration hearing which the pitcher called a "character assassination." (1:50)

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- All-Star pitcher Trevor Bauer thought the Cleveland Indians had presented a better overall case against him in their latest salary arbitration hearing -- until the last 10 minutes, which he viewed as "character assassination" against him.

Bauer beat Cleveland in arbitration for the second straight year. The three-person panel awarded him $13 million on Wednesday instead of the Indians' $11 million offer.

"They spent the last 10 minutes of the case trying a character assassination," Bauer told reporters Thursday. "I learned that giving to charity is a bad thing. I learned that agreeing with someone on a podcast just for the sake of argument that I was worth $10.5 million ... should be the definitive answer why I'm not worth $13 [million].

"You never know how the character assassination plays, and considering that's what ended it, it kind of put a black mark on what I thought was a really well-argued case on both sides," Bauer added. "There's not room for that. Let's just stick to the numbers. Let the numbers tell the story. You don't need to bring character assassination into it, especially for charitable campaigns."

Bauer was awarded $6,525,000 last year after initially suggesting a figure, according to Yahoo, that included marijuana and sex references -- $6,420,969.69. He said he donated more than $100,000 total, giving $420.69 to a different charity each day during a campaign that he called "The 69 Days of Giving."

"They don't mention that I gave to 68 charities or that I donated more than $100,000," Bauer said. "Or that the whole point of the campaign was to bring awareness to all those charities, past the money I was giving them. Nothing about that. They just tried to say that I was bad for donating or for running that campaign.

"[But] the arbitrator didn't see it as a negative."

Bauer's use of social media also was raised by those arguing the case for the Indians, sources told ESPN's Buster Olney.

Last season, he ignited a Twitter battle when he insinuated Houston Astros pitchers were using sticky substances to increase their spin rates. Last spring, Bauer twice took aim at MLB for allegedly censoring him on Twitter and making his life more difficult with the new "Rob Manfred B.S.'' pace-of-play rules. His strong political opinions landed him in the middle of a Twitter hornet's nest in February 2017.

Bauer, who won't be eligible for free agency until after the 2020 season, said Thursday that he viewed the process as very intellectual and said it didn't sour his feelings about the Indians.

"No, I understand it," Bauer said. "I look at it as a very intellectual pursuit. It's very intellectual and not very emotional. They actually apologized to me immediately afterward, the other side in front of the arbitrator."

Bauer said he had sent formal personalized invitations to Indians president Chris Antonetti and general manager Mitch Chernoff to attend his arbitration hearing, but the "higher-ups on the team don't go. They have lawyers argue the case for them."

The 28-year-old right-hander, who said he never plans to sign more than a one-year contract, finished sixth in American League Cy Young Award voting after going 12-6 with a 2.21 ERA. He missed six weeks late in the season after getting hit on the right leg by a line drive.

Bauer already anticipates going through the arbitration process again next year.

"I'm going to set the record raise and record salary in arbitration for a starting pitcher next year," he said. "So I can't imagine the [MLB Labor Relations Department] will ever allow a team to just agree, whether it's the Indians or another team."

The pitcher said his 2018 season could have been worth $30 million on the free-agent market.

"Next year, I expect to be paid in line with what my season in 2019 is worth, which would never be agreed upon before a hearing," he said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.