Phillies catch break as Trevor Bauer turns down Mets
By Matt Rappa
The Philadelphia Phillies caught a huge break in the free-agent market on Friday, and it does not even relate to a signing of there own or the lack thereof — but rather, with a division-rival.
The race to sign 2020 National League Cy Young Award winner Trevor Bauer shrunk down to two teams in recent days, the New York Mets and reigning World Series champion Los Angeles Dodgers.
Trevor Bauer signs with the Dodgers, not the Mets: good news for Phillies fans.
While initial reports on Thursday suggested Bauer had a deal with the Mets, the exact opposite end up happening a day later. As first reported by MLB Network’s Jon Heyman, the nine-year veteran agreed to a deal with his hometown team in the Dodgers.
The contract, MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reports, is worth $102 million for three years, and includes opt outs after the 2021 and 2022 seasons. Although the average annual value is $34 million, Bauer will earn $40 million this coming season, $45 million in 2022, and $17 million the final year. “He’ll be the highest-paid player in MLB history in ’21, then again in ’22,” Feinsand added.
Bauer received a record contract from the Dodgers, but reportedly was offered even more money from the Mets. In the end, the Phillies are surely glad they will not have to face Bauer potentially a few times each season, had he signed within the National League East.
Bauer is coming off of the best season in his career. Through 11 starts with the Cincinnati Reds, he posted a National League-best 1.73 ERA, 276 ERA+, and 0.795 WHIP. He led the majors in complete games and shutouts (2), as well as fewest hits allowed per nine innings pitched (5.1).
Trevor Bauer will not reunite with Caleb Cotham in Philadelphia after all.
There was thought that the Phillies could try to convince Bauer to sign with them, considering he and pitching coach Caleb Cotham built a strong relationship in Cincinnati. That ended up being just speculation.
The Phillies wound up landing their top two free-agent targets this offseason in J.T. Realmuto and Didi Gregorius. Although the Mets acquired star shortstop Francisco Lindor, a former teammate of Bauer’s with the Cleveland Indians, they missed out on their presumed top three targets — Realmuto, Bauer and outfielder George Springer.
Consider that a significant victory for president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski and company, before the season even gets underway.