Bauer has chance in spring to secure rotation spot

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Trevor Bauer will be given every opportunity this spring to prove he belongs in the Indians' Opening Day rotation. Both general manager Chris Antonetti and manager Terry Francona said as much on Wednesday.

Asked if Bauer was going to have a legitimate chance to earn a job, Francona promptly gave his one-word answer before the question was finished.

"Yes," Francona said matter-of-factly.

The 22-year-old Bauer -- acquired as part of Cleveland's three-team, nine-player offseason trade with Cincinnati and Arizona -- is up against a handful of pitchers for the fifth spot in the rotation. Other candidates include Carlos Carrasco, Corey Kluber, Scott Kazmir, Daisuke Matsuzaka and David Huff.

In four starts for the D-backs last season, Bauer went 1-2 with a 6.06 ERA and did not mesh well with members of the organization. Across 22 outings in between Double-A Mobile and Triple-A Reno a year ago, he went 12-2 with a 2.42 ERA and 157 strikeouts in 130 1/3 innings.

Antonetti has stated on multiple occasions that Bauer might benefit from more development but said Wednesday that does not mean the pitcher is necessarily ticketed for the Minors to start the season.

"We're not really predisposed either way," Antonetti said. "We want to go with the starters who feel give us the best chance to win. If Trevor is one of those guys, then that will be a big part of our decision. But, in the end, if he ends up starting the season in the Minor Leagues, he can benefit from additional development."

While the expectations surrounding Bauer are high, Francona said the pitcher's progress this spring will ultimately decide his fate.

"We're looking for big things," Francona said. "Whether it's on Opening Day, he'll probably determine that. But, we're excited about him. Any time you can bring pitching into the organization, it's not an easy thing to do to acquire pitching. So we're really excited about that aspect of it."