A crescendo of frustration and a ball chucked over the center-field wall.

Trevor Bauer's dissatisfaction with his results the last several weeks finally came to a head in the Indians' 9-6 loss to the Kansas City Royals on Sunday.

At the conclusion of an outing that included a few weak hits and a ball lost in the sun, manager Terry Francona walked to the mound to get the baseball from Bauer. Except Bauer, with his frustration boiling over with his own performance, launched the ball over the center field wall at Kauffman Stadium.

Francona certainly seemed frustrated with Bauer's antics as he took him out of the game. Bauer patted his chest to reaffirm his anger was with himself, not with Francona ending his day. After the game, Bauer told reporters that he addressed the team and apologized with a lengthy statement.

“First and foremost, I owe a sincere apology to all of my teammates, my coaching staff, the organization and all of our fans for how I conducted myself today," Bauer told reporters in Kansas City. "It’s unbecoming. It was childish, unprofessional. There’s no place for it in the game. I’m happy it didn’t result in any physical injury for anybody else. I realize I put people in danger.

“I want to be clear that my frustrations were with myself and my inability to stop the situation and keep my team in the game. It was not directed at any of my teammates, even though I know that it came off that way. I love going to battle with my guys every day, and today I feel like I really let them down, both personally and professionally. I’m an intense competitor and that fire is what drives me, and today it completely consumed me, took over. I just wanted to say I’m sorry for how I behaved. I’ll be better about it. It won’t happen again.

“If my teammates and the organization are willing to forgive me and continue accepting me to the brotherhood, I look forward to getting back out there with my guys next time and continuing on our road and our fight for what we set out to do this season, which is win the World Series.”

News and replays of Bauer heaving the ball quickly made the rounds on Twitter and spread across the league. Some had fun with the odd incident, asking for the launch angle and exit velocity. ESPN's Buster Olney tweeted, "Lots and lots of industry speculation about how much this incident affects Bauer's trade value. Ugly." The Athletic's Lindsey Adler added via her Twitter account, "Trevor Bauer's throw over the centerfield wall is generating a lot of amusement in the visitor's clubhouse at Fenway."

 

On the market

The idea that an incident of anger at the end of an outing would drastically alter Bauer's trade value seems odd, though. No, something like that doesn't portray the image that the Indians would prefer, which Bauer addressed postgame. And, no, it probably won't help his public image in the eyes of many.

But is it going to all of a sudden take a deal off the table? It seems like a reach, and it's probably the case that there has been an overreaction to an incident that more than anything was just odd.

The acquisition of Bauer for any team would be a significant move for a franchise trying to make the push for the World Series. Something like one moment of frustration likely wouldn't be the difference or severely alter the return package coming to Cleveland. And from the Indians' perspective, they certainly won't drop their price tag enough to just give away such a valuable asset just for that.

And, if something along those lines or away from the field were to affect his trade value, heaving a ball to center likely wouldn't make that list. Bauer drew criticism from many for trading jabs on Twitter with a female college student. He later gave an interview with Sports Illustrated that included a few statements that rubbed some the wrong way.

His frustration on the mound is also well documented, so if the thought was being considered that his trade value might be adversely affected by those things, or if a team did in some scenario allow it to diminish his value, Sunday's incident wouldn't be counted as something completely out of the blue. Bauer has long been upfront, forthcoming and honest about his views on many things, regardless if some might not agree with them or like them.

The bigger issue for the Indians is any potential discipline Bauer might receive from the league, and if he might end up missing a start, which is the case with any player and any incident. In 1991, the Cincinnati Reds' Rob Dibble was suspended four games for a similar act, though that ball hit a fan.

The Indians are entering a brutal stretch of their schedule, which begins with a series against the Houston Astros on Tuesday, so Bauer being on the mound is paramount and it could be a key component of his lengthy apology. That element is when it would really begin to matter to a clubhouse, and something like this seems to warrant more reaction on Twitter than from the league office.

And that also connects to how the act alone likely doesn't alter his trade value: What matters to teams is what happens on the field. Sure, it's preferable from the club's view to avoid such things, but if teams think Bauer on the mound is the difference between missing the postseason and playing well into October, the offers will be there. His perceived talent and value and his contract situation are the prime factors.

 

Tough stretch

The Indians had closed the gap behind the Minnesota Twins in the American League Central Division to one game before Sunday's results. Entering this week, they're two games behind the Twins and in less than two months have erased 9.5 games from their biggest deficit. Holding that pace through August might be a challenge, though, as the Indians' and Twins' schedule difficulties flip.

Over the next month, the Indians have series against the Astros, Los Angeles Angels, Texas Rangers, the Twins, Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays. That's seven teams in the American League playoff hunt. In other words, the Indians have to go through every contending AL team except the Oakland A's in August while still trying to chase down — or at least not fall further behind — the Twins.

The Indians' schedule in September gets a bit lighter and includes six games with the Twins. But getting through August, a month in which the Twins face a heavier schedule within the weak AL Central, is a tall task, especially with Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco still rehabbing.

With two months left in the season and the trade deadline looming on Wednesday, the race is on.

 

Ryan Lewis can be reached at rlewis@thebeaconjournal.com. Read the Indians blog at www.ohio.com/indians. Follow him on Twitter at @ByRyanLewis.