Curt Casali is open to it.
“I can try and sell him if you guys want me to. I talk to him frequently,” the new Giants catcher said of reigning Cy Young winner Trevor Bauer.
“If I’m ever instructed to woo him, I will.”
He meant by the Giants, not by the fanbase. So might be time for fans to work on their Farhan Zaidi and Scott Harris impressions.
Casali, the 32-year-old signed to a one-year deal a day prior, was introduced Tuesday, reuniting the former Cincinnati Red with a host of his friends and former teammates. He caught Kevin Gausman, Anthony DeSclafani, Matt Wisler and Wandy Peralta, he received hitting instruction he raved about from then-Reds instructor and now Giants hitting coach Donnie Ecker. Further back, he played at Vanderbilt with Mike Yastrzemski — the two were groomsmen in each other’s weddings — and Sam Selman.
Could there be one more piece coming from Casali’s past?
“I hope he gets what’s due to him, in all honesty,” Casali said over Zoom of Bauer. “Would I love to have him be a part of the Giants? Yes, absolutely.”
What’s due to him is quite a bit. The 29-year-old led MLB with a 1.73 ERA last season while striking out 100 in 73 innings. With Casali as his battery mate, the ERA ballooned to 1.82 in six starts. Casali said he “felt like I won the Cy Young” when Bauer was given the honor, nicely timed before he hit free agency.
In the past, Bauer has said he wanted to only take one-year deals that would maximize his earning potential rather than provide him with surreal amounts of security. Yet his agent, Rachel Luba, has said that all types of contracts will be on the table. As the clear No. 1 free-agent option without a clear No. 2, Bauer could be looking at offers in the $150 million neighborhood. Is that too steep for the Giants, who wouldn’t likely be in the neighborhood of the Dodgers and Padres even with Bauer?
San Francisco would have to value him as a legitimate ace for Years Two, Three and Four of potential pacts, which is risky with a pitcher who, while brilliant last season, posted a 4.48 ERA in 2019.
But the Giants have done and will do their homework. Casali is another to ask about the polarizing personality, Bauer living online and boosting his own brand in ways that some love and some detest. He talks pitching with clarity and eloquence. He also once directed his followers repeatedly toward a college woman who criticized him.
The mind behind the pitcher, though, is what Casali glowed about.
“He’s always ahead of the curve. He is the most analytical pitcher I’ve ever caught,” Casali said of Bauer, one of the faces of Driveline. “He understands exactly how his body works. He’s extremely smart, he’s extremely well-prepared when he gets on the mound. He is the one who’s leading the pregame meetings every time. He knows exactly what the hitters are, what their capabilities are. He knows exactly how to attack them.
“But that dude, he lives baseball. That’s what he does. Between working out, taking care of his body, physical testing between starts and what he does from a social-media perspective — I don’t know how he does it honestly, I think it’s really, really impressive.”
If the newest Giant is trying to butter up a potential new Giant, it’s a nice start.