The 2020 NL Cy Young Award winner has agreed to a deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Trevor Bauer was the consensus top pitcher on the free agency market, making the defending World Series Champions even better than before.
Trevor Bauer has agreed to a contract that will make him the highest paid pitcher in baseball for the 2021 season, and should he exercise his option in 2022, will likely be the highest paid for that season too. The total money reported is $102 million over 3 years, with an opt-out after both the 2021 and 2022 seasons. It works out to $40 million in 2021, $45 million in 2022, and $17 million for the final year.
He has broken the seasonal value record set by his former college teammate Gerrit Cole last offseason, which seemed to be a top priority for this contract. Bauer is from Santa Clarita, a city north of Los Angeles and he pitched at UCLA, so coming home is clearly something Bauer wanted out of his free agency. LA is also home to multiple state of the art pitching labs for Bauer to continue his famous (or infamous) pitch design work that he started with Driveline Baseball. As an organization, the Dodgers have been on the cutting edge of pitching data and analytics, and Bauer is the player that most popularly aligns with those beliefs.
Bauer is coming off what is by far the best stretch of baseball of his career during the 60-game 2020 MLB season. He pitched to a 1.73 ERA in 73 innings, racking up 100 strikeouts in 11 starts. He hasn’t had the same success over previous years of his career, but Andrew Friedman and the rest of the Dodgers front office decided that betting on his 2020 career year is the right gamble to make.
The New York Mets and new owner Steve Cohen seemed to be the front-runners for Bauer after the night of Feb. 4, where it was reported by multiple sources that Bauer to the Mets was all but done. Even the notoriously misleading Bob Nightengale reported that the deal actually was done. Bauer seems to have committed another trolling act here, as with this signing, the Mets will have missed out on all of the top 4 free agents available this offseason that they seemed to be pushing hard for.
This is a move for Friedman and the Dodgers that overshadows the multiple blockbuster pitching acquisitions made by the division rival San Diego Padres earlier in this offseason. Before this move, FanGraphs win projections for 2021 had the Dodgers and Padres virtually neck and neck for the NL West division title. If Bauer is able to recreate his 2020 for LA over the next 2 seasons, the Dodgers will remain the best team, not only in their division, but in all of Major League Baseball. The Dodgers are reminding everyone once more, that they are in a league of their own.