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It’s becoming the second-most familiar sight at Dodger Stadium.
A makeshift podium set up on the outfield grass. A news conference with manager Dave Roberts, president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman and newly acquired star players. A loud and clear message being sent about the Dodgers’ championship ambitions.
Last February, it was Mookie Betts and David Price who were introduced in such a setting, a precursor to the franchise’s first World Series in 32 years. Exactly 365 days later, the club announced Trevor Bauer’s record-breaking signing in the same way, welcoming the reigning Cy Young Award winning pitcher with an on-field presentation less than a week before Dodgers pitchers and catchers report to the start of spring training.
“To be sitting here today with the culmination of a lot of work from a lot of people to be in this position is extremely exciting,” Friedman said.
Here are notable quotes — edited for length and clarity — from Bauer, Roberts and Friedman from Tuesday’s wide-ranging introductory news conference:
Bauer on what drew him to the Dodgers: “It was all about the organization. The talent level that's here, the organizational structure, the systems that are in place, the people that are here. I've talked to a lot of people that have played here, people that played for Doc, a lot of people that play for Andrew and just in general, been associated with the Dodgers organization. I haven't heard a single negative thing. Everyone has glowing reviews. A lot of people have told me, ‘If you can play for the Dodgers, you should. First class.’
“I wanted to be on a team that had a chance to win a World Series. I wanted to be on a team that viewed me being [part of a] partnership, was willing to work with me on things, I'm willing to work with them on things and we can come together and do something great. So everything that I was looking for in a home is here.”
Friedman on how the signing came together: “Coming into the offseason, Trevor was very front and center for us, so we had a few different phone calls and stayed in contact. As we got into a couple weeks ago, things started to pick up. There were days where I felt optimistic and certain days where I didn't, but I think that's the nature of most, if not all negotiations.
Friedman on the Dodgers’ vetting process of Bauer, and what he would say to fans who were disappointed in and felt alienated by the organization for signing him: “We very much value [those fans]. That part is easy. Hopefully over the last six-plus years, some trust and credibility has been built up in terms of the research that we do on players and the vetting process we go through. In terms of talking to teammates of players we're looking at, talking to clubhouse guys, talking to trainers. We get as much information as we can on players. There's some stuff that's more public with Trevor that definitely was something we wanted to dig into. Had multiple conversations with Trevor.
“The most important thing is every teammate we talked to, all the feedback we got from every organization he was with, was not only incredibly positive in terms of the type of teammate he is, but also in terms of the impact he makes on each organization. I think the talent is pretty obvious. But I actually think that from a cultural standpoint, from continuing to strive to get better at everything we do, I actually think he is going to be a tremendous asset.
“In our conversations, he's alluded to past mistakes he's made. We're all gonna make mistakes. What's important for me is how people, including myself when I make mistakes, it's how we internalize it. ... It was important to have that conversation, and we came away from it feeling good about it. Now obviously, time will tell, but I feel like he is going to be a tremendous add, not just on the field but in the clubhouse, in the community, and that's obviously why we're sitting here.”
Bauer on his past social media behavior, including incidents in which he was accused of harassing women and spreading conspiracy theories: “Everyone makes mistakes in the past. I try to learn from them. I try to learn as quickly as I possibly can, try to understand other people's viewpoints on things and be better in the future. ... Ultimately I'm here to be a positive impact on anyone that I can be, both in the community, in the clubhouse, on the field, at the stadium, whatever the case is.
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) February 11, 2021
“I'm not gonna go into specifics on everything, all the conversations I've had with people across all walks of life over the past couple years and all the things that I've learned. I can say I've learned from those [incidents]. I spent a lot of my time going and talking to people to try to understand other perspectives and I'm doing my best to be better, as I do in all walks of my life. I don't think that it makes any sense to dive into specific issues in this forum, but I am committed to being in the clubhouse, being better in life in general. And as I stated earlier, I'm excited to be part of a community, I'm excited to work with a community, I'm excited to be part of an organization that's here to win and make a positive impact in people's lives.”
Bauer on why a shorter three-year contract with opt-outs after Years 1 and 2 was attractive: “I don't want to be a player that signs a long-term deal and towards the end is resented, either by the fan base, by the organization, or on my end for having my performance slip below what my contract dictates. So I wanted something with flexibility. I wanted something that worked for me and for the organization. And as far as security goes, I'm well aware of the fact that I'm very well compensated and I'm plenty secure.”
Friedman on if Bauer’s signing alters the Dodgers chances of re-signing Justin Turner and making other roster moves before the season: “The simple answer is no. I think we're committed to doing everything we can to put together the best roster that we can. Obviously it's difficult for me to comment on a specific free agent. But I think it's pretty well documented what we think of JT, what he's meant to this organization. As far as how that's gonna play out, we will see. But at every turn in the six-plus years I've been here, ownership has been incredibly supportive of doing everything we can to win and to reward the amazing fans that we have, to bring a world championship back to L.A., which had been a long time coming. And now, their mind-set is, ‘Let's do it again. Let's flip the switch and have the mindset of repeating.’ Obviously, the action of this speaks to that.”
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.