The Dodgers could give Trevor Bauer the most favorable contract in free agency.
Baseball fans still don’t know what to expect this offseason. The biggest contract handed out to date is the four-year, $40 million deal the New York Mets gave to catcher James McCann. Teams who usually spend big, like the Los Angeles Dodgers, have been focused on make smaller transactions, like adding Corey Knebel and Brandon Morrow.
And when you look at the Dodgers, they aren’t really in a position to dish out another long-term contract this offseason. They just signed Mookie Betts to a 12-year extension and have guys like Corey Seager, Cody Bellinger, Clayton Kershaw and Justin Turner to worry about at the moment. Those talks will take precedent. And don’t forget about Walker Buehler.
So if the Dodgers want to make a marquee signing this offseason, perhaps they check in with Trevor Bauer to see if he’d be willing to ink a three- or four-year deal with a high AAV — kind of like what they reportedly offered Bryce Harper a few years ago, which is the point Jorge Castillo of the Los Angeles Times raises.
"“Bauer would cost only money. The Newhall Hart High graduate and former UCLA star previously said he would sign only one-year deals throughout his career but appears to have changed his mind. The Dodgers would likely entertain adding Bauer only if he is open to a short-term deal,” Castillo wrote.“The approach would be similar to when they pursued Bryce Harper two winters ago. Harper wanted to commit to a franchise for the rest of his career. The Dodgers instead offered him a four-year deal worth at least $40 million per season. He chose to sign a 13-year, $330-million deal with the Philadelphia Phillies.”"
Perhaps a four-year, $120 million deal could get the job done? Or maybe a three-year, $90 million deal? It all depends how the Dodgers view their current situation. Bauer was previously open to signing one-year deals for the rest of his career, but that’s likely no more after what’s happened after the global pandemic. He’s going to have to secure the bag now.
And if we’re being honest, that kind of money would be extremely beneficial for Bauer.
Yes, he won the Cy Young in a shortened 2020 campaign, but he’s only had one other year with an ERA below a 4.18 across his nine MLB seasons — and 11 starts is hardly a full slate, so add in another 20 and we’d venture to say the right-hander doesn’t maintain his 1.74 ERA.
Plus, this helps the Dodgers. They pay a high price for Bauer’s prime years and don’t get hamstrung by an extra three or four seasons of decline. And hey, if Bauer is still pitching at a high level by the end of a three- or four-year deal, he’ll be in line to sign another solid contract closer to his mid-30s.
This would fall right in line with the Dodgers’ premium World Series window too. Bauer gets money, spotlight and the best chance possible at a championship — or two, or three. The Dodgers bolster their rotation, get quality insurance in the event Kershaw further declines, and don’t have to make a prohibitive financial investment.
It feels like a win-win. But would Bauer be up to it?