HomeTrending MLB NewsThe Lost Pitchers

The Lost Pitchers

Trevor Bauer once won a Cy Young Award. Julio Urías won a World Series ring. And Domingo German pitched a perfect game less than a year ago.

Yet all three pitchers remain on the outside, looking in, while most of the 30 major-league teams prepare to head into the 2024 season with patchwork pitching staffs.

Even teams with serious last-minute injuries, such as the aching elbow that could keep Gerrit Cole on the Yankees’ injured list for months, won’t give the three lost pitchers a second look.

Bauer, a 33-year-old right-hander, has pitched for Arizona, Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Los Angeles but ran afoul of the baseball establishment in 2021 when allegations surfaced about his sexual harrassment of several women. Placed on administrative leave for 324 games (later reduced to 194), he drew his release from the Dodgers on Jan. 12, 2023. No other player has been hit with a suspension that lengthy except for those banned for life.

A California native who once studied mechanical engineering at UCLA, Bauer led the school to its first College World Series championship. He was the first player from that school to win the coveted Golden Spikes Award, given to the nation’s top collegiate star.

He broke into the majors in 2012 but pitched most recently for the Yokohama DNA BayStars, a Japanese ballclub. He has repeatedly expressed a willingness to sign for the major-league minimum of $740,000 in a contract that would be loaded with incentives.

Bauer never completed the three-year, $102 million contract he signed with the Dodgers in 2021.

On July 2, Commissioner Rob Manfred placed him on administrative leave while his office opened an internal investigation. At the time, he had an 8-5 record and 2.59 earned run average in 17 starts and was leading both leagues with 137 strikeouts in 107 2/3 innings pitched.

Urías, a left-hander who became a free agent after the 2023 season, had spent his entire career with the Dodgers before his off-the-field behavior became a front-page issue.

Signed by the Dodgers in 2012, he broke into the majors four years later, eventually leading the National League in victories (2021) and earned run average (2022).

Like Bauer, however, bad behavior overshadowed his baseball ability. Arrested for domestic battery in 2019, he attended a year-long domestic violence counseling program as a condition for the City of Los Angeles to defer prosecution.

In 2023, however, he was arrested again, this time for felony domestic violence following an incident at a soccer match. Seen assaulting a woman, Urias was placed on administrative leave by MLB just as the season reached Labor Day. The L.A. District Attorney later decided not to pursue felony charges against the pitcher.

Urías never lived up to his one-year, $14.5 million contract for 2023. Although he has a glittering lifetime record of 60-25, he went only 11-8 with a 4.60 ERA last year, when he made 21 starts. Hampered by persistent hamstring problems, the Mexican lefty was only a shadow of the man who led the league in wins and winning percentage during a 20-3 season in 2021 and a 2.16 ERA a year later.

He would pitch at age 27 this year if somebody signs him but, like Bauer, he’s worn out the welcome mat at Dodger Stadium.

And what has become of Domingo Germán?

A right-handed pitcher from the Dominican Republic, he has spent his entire six-year career with the New York Yankees, even leading the American League with an .818 winning percentage (18-4 record) in 2019. But he’s only 31-28 and 4.41 – no great shakes – for his career.      

Originally signed by the Miami Marlins, he was dealt to the Yankees on December 19, 2014 along with with Nathan Eovaldi and Garrett Jones. Going the other way were David Phelps, Martín Prado and cash.

Suddenly last summer – on June 29 to be precise – Germán pitched the 24th perfect game in baseball history, blanking the hapless Oakland Athletics, 11-0. He needed only 99 pitches, fanning nine, and banked heavily on a sharp-breaking curveball. Then he threw the Yankees a curve that was even more unlikely.

He had an alcohol-induced meltdown inside the Yankees clubhouse, confronted manager Aaron Boone and several teammates, flipped over a couch, and damaged a TV. That effectively ended the Bronx tenure of the 31-year-old Dominican, whose similar angry outburst early in 2020 led to an 81-game suspension for violating baseball’s domestic abuse policy.

Whether any of the Lost Pitchers returns is subject to conjecture, though teams have grown increasingly weary of injecting controversial players into their clubhouses.

Everybody needs pitching but nobody needs trouble.

Dan Schlossberg, Senior Writer
Dan Schlossberg, Senior Writerhttps://mlbreport.com/
Former AP sportswriter Dan Schlossberg of Fair Lawn, NJ is a national baseball writer for forbes.com; weekend editor of the Here’s The Pitch newsletter; columnist for Sports Collectors Digest; and contributor to USA TODAY Sports Weekly, Memories & Dreams, and many other outlets. He’s also the author of more than 40 books. His email is ballauthor@gmail.com.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here