The Trevor Bauer free agency saga has finally come to an end on Friday when the reigning National League Cy Young Award winner announced he would be signing a deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers, via his Youtube channel. The deal is for three years and is worth $102 million. Bauer will have opt out clauses after the 2021 and 2022 seasons. The contract is front loaded as Bauer will make $40 million in 2021 and $45 million in 2022. Those two figures will make Bauer the highest paid player ever in a single season as he tops Gerrit Cole’s $36/year contract that he signed last offseason.
This news comes after a chaotic 24 hours within the Bauer camp, in which his agent confirmed they had thinned down the list of contenders for the former Red to the Dodgers and the New York Mets. The following hours were then filled with leaks from Bauer’s website and the media that were suggesting the Mets had emerged as a front runner in the race, as Bauer/Mets merchandise surfaced on his website and Bob Nightengale even went as far as to say the Mets and Bauer had struck a deal on Thursday night.
Ultimately though, Bauer decides to return to his hometown of Los Angeles and suit up with the defending World Series champions. In what had been a quiet offseason, the Dodgers now make the biggest splash of all as they now boast three former Cy Young Award winners on their roster as the 2020 winner joins Clayton Kershaw and David Price, not to mention the electric arms of Walker Buehler and Julio Urias in the starting rotation. While LA will blast through the luxury tax threshold by going about $30 million over the 2021 mark of $210 million, the Dodgers felt they needed to make this move to match the division rival Padres, whom have also stocked up on all star pitching this offseason when they acquired Blake Snell and Yu Darvish in December. While free agent third baseman Justin Turner is still on the market, it seems the team has no problem opening their checkbook for a core piece. This acquisition now marks back to back offseasons in which MLB’s top winter prize finds themselves in Chavez Ravine as former MVP outfielder Mookie Betts was acquired by the team last winter. Betts and company helped lead the Dodgers to their first World Series championship since 1988 last fall and by adding the two time all star in Bauer makes this team even more stacked than it already was, as LA is looking to defend their title and are no doubt the favorites to do it again this year and become MLB’s first repeat champions since the Yankees threepeat from 1998-2000.
The other serious contender in the Trevor Bauer sweepstakes that ended up coming up short was the New York Mets. Unlike the Dodgers, the Mets offseason has been one of the busiest in the league as an ownership change has come with them filling team needs in the bullpen and at catcher with Trevor May and James McCann respectively. However, their biggest move came earlier in January when they acquired two of Trevor Bauer’s former teammates from Cleveland in pitcher Carlos Carrasco and all star shortstop Francisco Lindor. New York was reportedly offering more overall money to Bauer, but the Dodgers front loaded contract and the prospect of playing in his hometown seemed to be more enticing to him. While Bauer wasn’t necessarily a team need for the Mets, losing out on the offseason’s top prize will keep New York in the second tier of contenders for the 2021 season and will have them vying for a wild card berth as the Atlanta Braves remain the favorite in the NL East.
Image: USA Today