TBauer and the Dodgers think alike with short-term contracts.
The Dodgers just gave Mookie Betts the longest and largest contract in franchise history that will pay him until 2040, so the narrative that the team only wants to sign short-term contracts is a bit unfair. It depends on the player and it depends on the situation.
It does not make sense to sign a player to a long-term deal if the Dodgers think they are going to heavily regress down the line. They obviously think differently with Betts, plus, the team was smart and deferred some of the money to lessen the blow later down the road.
Even though Bauer is great, it does not make sense to sign him to a contract close to Gerrit Cole’s because of the players they already have and want to keep around for the long haul. However, Bauer is not going to be asking for that kind of contract, which is right up the Dodgers’ alley.
Bauer has said in the past that he plans on only signing one-year contracts for the rest of his career. That might not turn out to be 100% accurate, but perhaps he’ll want a shorter-term deal with a contender that allows him to explore his options again when he’s still pitching well.
The Dodgers infamously offered Bryce Harper a four-year contract with a $45 million AAV, so they’re clearly proponents of that line of thinking. That is what makes this a great fit. The Dodgers could sign Bauer to a hefty one-year year contract with a big player option for the 2022 season (just to give Bauer that flexibility).
According to Spotrac, the Dodgers will be $92 million under the luxury tax threshold for 2021, so giving Bauer a gigantic one- or two-year deal can easily work from a financial perspective.