After declining a one-year, $18.9 million dollar qualifying offer from the Cincinnati Reds, Trevor Bauer is set to be a free agent in search of a big payday. Bauer chose the perfect time to have a career year, as the likely NL Cy Young award winner put up an outstanding 1.73 ERA (2nd best in the MLB) to go along with 100 strikeouts (3rd in MLB), and a ridiculous 0.795 WHIP (2nd in MLB). The 29-year-old right-hander is set to be the biggest free-agent on the market this off-season, and he will more than likely be in for the biggest contract of the off-season. Here are some possible landing spots for Trevor Bauer:
1. San Diego Padres
The San Diego Padres are seemingly the best fit for Trevor Bauer. Aside from reuniting with former Indians teammate Mike Clevinger, Bauer would fit perfectly. The lineup is solid with Manny Machado, Eric Hosmer, rookie sensation Jake Cronenworth, Fernando Tatis Jr, and a reinvented Wil Myers. Adding Bauer to a young rotation consisting of Zach Davies, Dinelson Lamet, and Clevinger would be one of the leagues best. The Padres would take a playoff team to the next level by adding a true ace in Bauer, cementing their pitching dominance while carrying a dangerous lineup.
2. New York Yankees
The New York Yankees seemingly have an endless supply of cash. After trading for Giancarlo Stanton’s mega-contract a few years ago, they signed Gerrit Cole to one of the largest contracts ever this past off-season. While the Cole signing did not put them in the World Series, adding another arm to the rotation could help put them over the edge. A Cole+Bauer 1-2 punch could be dangerous in the postseason. Bauer struck-out 12 Braves and allowed no earned runs in his one playoff start in 2020. Cole and Bauer would help even out the team as a whole. The Yanks would not need to rely on the lineup to win every game Cole isn’t starting. As long as they avoid the injury bug, a Yankees team with Bauer would be dangerous.
3. Cincinnati Reds
The Cincinnati Reds would welcome Bauer back in a second. He helped lead the team to their first playoff berth since 2013 in 2020. Bauer made an excellent pairing with Luis Castillo and Sonny Gray, both of which were very reliable in 2020. That trio would be hard to contend with, but the Reds would need to add some bats to create runs for them. The issue with a Bauer signing is the financial focal point being taken away from the lineup, which may result in less run production. A 1-2-3 punch of Bauer, Castillo, and Gray is hard to not-want if you are the Reds.
4. Los Angeles Dodgers
The World Series champion Los Angeles Dodgers always have money to spend. With Walker Buehler, Clayton Kershaw, Dustin May, Tony Gonsolin, Julio Urias, and the return of David Price the Dodgers have a very good rotation, but a Bauer signing would cause some crowding. May, Gonsolin, and Urias could be turned into swing-men, while Bauer, Buehler, and Kershaw would be an exciting trio. The Dodgers would essentially be a super-team, with three aces in the rotation and two MVP winners in the lineup. Bauer has been linked to the team, but would likely push back young arms. The Dodgers would need to adjust around the $210 million dollar competitive balance threshold, as they are currently at $175 million for 2021.
5. Los Angeles Angels
The Los Angeles Angels are still searching for a GM, but they need a player like Bauer. Mike Trout is getting older and he needs his ring. Kershaw has got his, and Trout is next. The Angels have done a horrific job at getting Trout into the playoffs, only doing so once. A signing like Bauer would create some noise in a rotation that is rather barren outside of Shohei Ohtani. A lineup with Trout, Anthony Rendon, Jo Adell, Max Stassi, and Ohtani would provide run support for Bauer. The Angels aren’t going to get better unless they do something, fast. Bauer would be a great fit, although they would need to add some more arms to create consistency.
Trevor Bauer is going to get paid. He may consider a one year deal but will receive lots of long term offers.
This year is different though, considering the financial state of the MLB. Any of these teams would love to have him. These are just five of the teams that seem likely, but there are lots of others in the race. The Chicago White Sox, San Francisco Giants, Toronto Blue Jays, Boston Red Sox, Minnesota Twins, and New York Mets are all viable options. Bauer is in a prime position to get paid and chose where he’s going to get paid. Expect either a high priced one year deal or a $200 to $300 million dollar, 5-7 year deal.
Embed from Getty Images