“Good luck to Carlos Santana there.”
Those were the words of Arizona Diamondbacks catcher Miguel Montero. An innocent, concise statement of well-wishes to a baseball peer, if you’re taking it at face value.
But wait, why is he wishing good luck on a player in a different league and with whom he’s never played?
Well, that’s because it was prefaced by a whole lot more words with a less-than-friendly intent–not directed to Santana or the Cleveland Indians, though, but to Montero’s former teammate, Trevor Bauer.
The full extent to what Montero said could be found on Adam Green’s report on ArizonaSports.com, and while it’s nothing that anyone would call incendiary, it does make you wonder just how strained the relationship between Bauer and his former teammate may have been in 2012.
Bauer has long had a reputation for being a dedicated student and critic of his own game, and according to his catcher, it only made the 22-year-old “tough” to work and share ideas with. The studiousness to his craft may have been as much of a vice as a virtue. The two never truly got on the same page because, as Montero said, Bauer was someone who “thinks he’s got everything figured out” and every time a plan to simplify things was run by him, “he would make it even harder”.
There’s more, but I think you get the idea.
It’s not the first time that Bauer’s reputation has been brought up in his professional career, but Montero’s comments may be the most candid. It’s only one side of the story, of course, and it does give us a bit more insight as to why the team wound up trading their former third-overall pick only months after his MLB debut in 2012.
That said, it also says a little something about the Diamondbacks and former teammates, no? From the unknown teammate who said Justin Upton “didn’t play with a high level of energy” to Montero essentially complaining about having to work with Bauer, there’s been a fair share of not-very-nice thoughts being directed at those who are no longer with the team. What’s there to gain by talking down a player who isn’t around anymore?
It’s been said before that the team wanted to rebuild around the vision of manager Kirk Gibson, who saw an issue with the clubhouse culture last season, and those who were traded simply didn’t fit to the vision. But, could the issue be the team’s culture itself?
That’s a worthwhile question to ask, particularly as the team is looking to regroup anew around Martin Prado, who should be exactly the type of player that Gibson is working for.
Still, for it to work, the Diamondbacks and players like Montero may want to direct their focus more on what they did that contributed to the team’s season turning sour in 2012, and less on how former teammates may have added to it.
The former part is the only thing they can still change, after all.