DeNA’s Dilemma: Balancing Persistence and Caution in Pursuing Bauer Acquisition | FRIDAY DIGITAL

DeNA’s Dilemma: Balancing Persistence and Caution in Pursuing Bauer Acquisition

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He has yet to hit a single home run this season.

In this season, DeNA’s Austin (32), whose contract is in its final year, was promoted back to the first team and returned to the starting lineup on May 17th. He had been sidelined since April 10th due to a right hamstring strain, but with the absence of the main hitter, Shusaku Makino (26), who is out with an injury, a right-handed power hitter like Austin is a valuable asset.

However, surprisingly, some team officials are watching over Austin with mixed feelings, saying, “Don’t excel too much.”

“After the season opener, we acquired the former cleanup hitter, Yoshitomo Tsutsugo (32). During Austin’s absence, we used him at first base and in the outfield. His dramatic home runs thrilled the fans, and merchandise sales and attendance skyrocketed. As a franchise, we want to allocate these profits towards acquiring Trevor Bauer (33), the Cy Young-winning right-hander who won 10 games last season.” (Team official)

Regarding the funds for acquiring Bauer, who is considered to require a colossal contract of no less than 1 billion yen, it’s necessary to prepare them independently, as the transfer fee for Shota Imai (30), who moved to the Major Leagues using the posting system last offseason, “has been mostly handed over to the headquarters and there is almost none left” (same source).

Concerning the reacquisition, team officials are worried about Bauer’s “go-at-his-own-pace” behavior.

“He films YouTube videos everywhere, and his attitude is also arrogant. It is said that Austin harbors a dislike towards Bauer because of this. If they become teammates again, they might clash.” (same source)

In the Se-Pa interleague games starting on May 28th, since the designated hitter rule will be adopted, there is a high possibility that the injury-prone Austin will play as the designated hitter in Pacific League-hosted games.

“We can’t afford him to keep getting hit hard. This season is his final year of the contract, so if he is to continue playing in Yokohama next season, he will have to renegotiate a high-paying contract. Moreover, Austin, who is frequently injured and sidelined for long periods almost every year, cannot be said to be performing up to his salary. The real desire is to get rid of him. On the other hand, Bauer, who gladly accepts starting every four days, is an indispensable force for winning the league title, which has been elusive since 1998. If Austin’s batting slumps, he can be immediately demoted to the minors, and Bauer can be brought in during that gap. That way, they can avoid facing each other.” (former team member)

Both players’ contributions will be necessary for the long-awaited championship. If they can acquire Bauer, they’ll need to find a way to manage the situation somehow…

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