The Los Angeles Dodgers won the Trevor Bauer sweepstakes a few weeks ago when the right-hander signed a three-year, $102 million contract, which set an MLB record for average annual salary.
On the surface, it seems pretty self-explanatory, right? The Dodgers offered him a boatload of money on a short-term deal and he’d be able hit free agency again either next offseason or after 2023.
There’s no doubt he’ll get more money assuming he continues to pitch well.
But it wasn’t that simple. The New York Mets were also in the running for the reigning NL Cy Young winner and if not for a website error on Bauer’s end, things could’ve been a lot different.
According to Bauer’s agent Rachel Luba, he was set on joining the Mets after signed merchandise appeared on his website suggesting New York had landed his signature. Bauer, according to Luba, felt guilty and said he “can’t do that to a fan base,” telling her “it’s f—ing over, I’m done. Call the Dodgers, it’s done. It’s going to be the other team [the Mets].”
But Luba convinced Bauer to take a breather and go for a walk to give it some thought. After all, you can’t make a career- or life-defining decision because of a stupid mistake that had occurred.
In the end, he seemingly knew he was acting in haste, came to his senses, and joined the reigning World Series champs to form what could be one of the greatest starting rotations ever.
As for the Mets? Well, they didn’t make a single splash in free agency (only on the trade market with Francisco Lindor and Carlos Carrasco) and now they’re all of a sudden happy that they didn’t sign Bauer. Yeah … OK.
Admittedly, the website gaffe was a rough look given the decision Bauer ultimately made in addition to his previous troubling online behavior that prompted questions from the media during his introductory press conference with the Dodgers.
But the right-hander is hitting a crucial stride in his career and claims that he’s making improvements and more aware about how his behavior can affect others. If he continues to pitch at a high level and works on eliminating those off-the-field distractions, then this will be a match made in heaven … and the Mets can stop pretending like this decision wasn’t back-breaking for them.