CLEVELAND, Ohio – Rarely do you hear Terry Francona say anything negative about a player.
And when a player leaves, the Cleveland Indians manager is always complimentary.
He's been with Trevor Bauer … to some degree … since the right-hander traded to the Cincinnati Reds on Tuesday. Francona praised Bauer as a pitcher: "It will be difficult to replace."
But it is obvious that Francona was happy and somewhat relieved by the trade of sending Bauer to the Reds.
This is especially true after Sunday's game in Kansas City. In the fifth inning, Bauer lost his alertness and dropped a ball over the wall in the middle of the field as Francona walked to the mogul to pull it out of play.
"I was concerned that this (incident) could do to our team," Francona said. “I have expressed these concerns. I would be lying if I said I wasn't a little worried. "
My guess is that Francona was really worried and worried. This wasn't the only Bauer outburst that has plagued the team lately.
The Indians would not deal with Bauer unless they got a lot in return – and they did just that. As I wrote earlier, I really like the deal.
Help along the way
They changed the look of their lineup when the three-team trade was completed with the Reds and San Diego Padres.
Outside assistants of the tribe are outside linebackers Jasiel Puig (from the Reds) and Franmile Reyes (from the Padres). These are two bats with the right hand. Puig will play left, Reyes will be DC.
Those two players combine for 49 HR this season.
"You are starting to get excited about what is happening," Francona said.
Puig is batting .252 (.785 OPS) with 22 HR and 61 RBI. He is a free agent at the end of the season, a short-term acquisition for the tribe. He faces suspension for being part of a "red" fight Monday with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Francona said his baseball friends told him Indians should get "the best two months of his career (Puig)."
The manager said the 24-year-old Reyes was "respected" at the San Diego club for his leadership.
The Indians spoke of Reis at 6 feet 5, 275 pounds within his lineup for the next five seasons. They also added prospects to Logan Allen and Scott Moss, along with 19-year-old infielder Victor Nova, who is in the Arizona Debate League.
Francona believes that part of the tribe's edge is team chemistry. He was six years old by Eccentric Bauer. The manager helped Bauer grow into a very good pitcher.
But Francona and the front office have been worried about Bauer's influence on his teammates for some time.
Francona is not a manager with many rules. They are down to being on time and respecting the game.
Bauer's act was disrespectful to his teammates and manager.
I had the feeling of hearing the veteran manager say he and others were suffering from a form of Bauer fatigue. We will not cripple the hopes of the team.
But if the Indians could make a good deal about Bauer, the manager was all for it.
Indians also enrich the continuity. The combination of President Chris Antonetti, general manager Mike Chernoff and Francona are in their seventh season together.
At the end of his press conference, Francona explained that he was getting "too much credit here" and more praise should go to Antonetti and Chernoff.
Maybe the trade is not working. There is a risk of any deal.
But given Francona's response to the trade, it is clear that this was a trade off.