Last season, Danny Salazar was a revelation for the Cleveland Indians. Through fifty-two innings in the rotation, Salazar sported a 3.12 ERA with 11.25 K/9. He got by a higher-than-average HR/FB percentage by racking up a lot of strikeouts and generally being pretty fortuitous in the left-on-base department (83.3% LOB in 2013). Salazar's performance was one of the reasons why the Indians felt comfortable moving on from Kazmir and Jimenez, under the assumption that he might be able to replicate that performance again.
And so far this year, the peripherals look good, but the results are severely lacking. Though he is striking out 10.40 batters per nine innings, his walk rate has also jumped from 2.60 to 3.76. The additional free passes, combined with some severe regression in his left on base percentage (only 69.9% this season), has resulted in a 5.53 ERA.
Due to this, the Indians have decided to demote Salazar and bring back the Experience that is Trevor Bauer.
Bauer has had an interesting career so far, which is saying something for a guy with just over thirty-nine innings in the major leagues. Bauer was drafted in 2011 with some conversation (and controversy) regarding his training regimen and his long toss program. He made his professional debut in 2012, pitching just over sixteen innings across four starts with a 6.06 ERA. He was promptly traded the following off-seasonn for what amounted to little more than a disagreement over the best way to take care of himself physically and how best to improve his pitching. The trade so far has been a success for the Diamondbacks, considering Didi Gregorius, the main article in the trade, has returned 1.3 WAR of value to Arizona, whereas Trevor Bauer has been exactly replacement-level for Cleveland (pitching only twenty-three innings).
That being said, there is no denying the fact that Bauer has more upside, and if he can ever figure out how to not walk the ballpark (career 7.09 BB/9), he could find success as a major league pitcher.
For how long and for what utility Cleveland is giving Bauer a look remains to be seen. If he's up for a couple of weeks so Salazar can get his head right, this amounts to little more than a cup of coffee. If, on the other hand, Cleveland is intent on giving Bauer an extended look at the major league level, it could be an interesting few weeks we have to look forward to. Hopefully, we can sit back, relax, and enjoy The Experience.