CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Bobby Bradley did everything a young player could do to beat out a veteran like Jake Bauers. Bradley hit 300 when Bauers hit 200. Bradley hit two homers and 11 RBIs, Bauers put up zeroes in both. The spring training “competition” really was not close, but Bauers was out of options. That swung the job his way.
“If Jake doesn’t make the club, it’s irreversible,” said manager Terry Francona. “Bobby came in and did a really good job. He did his share, we just felt like the reversible and irreversible decisions... Jake’s done enough, we need to see him play.”
Bauers is only 25, he did not play in the majors last year because of the shortened season. As a 23-year old in 2019 he batted .226 with 12 homers. For only 23 that is not bad. There’s a lot of 23-year olds in the minor leagues. However, they did call it a competition. Clearly it wasn’t, because he Bradley was much better this spring. Leaving Francona in the tough spot of telling him he did not make the team. Something the manager feels is the hardest part of his job. “It is. It is something that never gets easier. I guess when it the day comes where it does get easy I’ll do something else.”
Francona said Bradley took the news like pro. “He is maturing, and it is exciting to watch young guys as they mature. We have talked about the maturity in his body and his baseball play but we saw it also when he got some news he did not want to hear.” Bradley lost more than 30 pounds in the offseason.
The Indians expect Bradley to be a part of their future as a run producer. They also clearly feel that Bauers can still be a part of that future as well. This move, for the meantime, allows them to keep both.