New pitching coach could lure Trevor Bauer to Phillies
By Matt Rappa
Could Caleb Cotham bring Cy Young winner Trevor Bauer with him to the Phillies?
Other than the Philadelphia Phillies organization — who appears to be on the brink of hiring him to replace Bryan Price — the next in line to sing praise to Cincinnati Reds assistant pitching coach Caleb Cotham is surely right-handed starting pitcher Trevor Bauer.
In a call with reporters following him being named the 2020 National League Cy Young Award recipient, Bauer shouted out Cotham. A few weeks prior, Bauer told Cincinnati.com that Cotham was “really helpful” in helping him work out throwing mechanics and that “it was good to have someone to bounce those ideas off of and have those conversations.”
The two have known each other much before their two seasons each with the Reds, particularly as clients of Driveline Baseball starting in 2013. Given the two are friends, and that Cotham contributed to Bauer’s career-best season in 2020, the likely next Phillies pitching coach could very well lure him to Philadelphia.
The soon-to-be 30-year old Bauer enters free agency after pitching the best season of his career in 2020. Although he went just 5-4, Bauer pitched to an ERA title of 1.73 and an impressive National League-best 0.795 WHIP, along with striking out 100 batters and walking just 17 through 11 starts and 73 innings.
These starts, along with his two complete game shutouts, helped earn Bauer his first Cy Young Award — the first player in Reds franchise history to do so; the North Hollywood, California, native received 27 of 30 first-place votes, finishing ahead of Yu Darvish and Jacob deGrom.
Earlier this month, Bauer rejected a one-year, $18.9 million qualifying offer from the Reds; catcher J.T. Realmuto similarly rejected the Phillies’ offer, and both players now have their sights set on garnering lucrative deals for their respective positions.
The Phillies might be hard-pressed to be able to afford Bauer, especially during the COVID-19 crisis. However, the right-hander’s agent recently tweeted that he would consider “all types of deals.” Perhaps, the Phillies could extend a backloaded contract offer to the nine-year veteran, providing them more flexibility next season.
Nonetheless, the Phillies have not yet been officially linked to Bauer in rumors so far this offseason; but, who is to say that if the expected Cotham hiring becomes official, he does not ultimately bring the ace with him to Philadelphia?