Trevor Bauer has signed a three-year, $102 million with the defending World Series champion Los Angeles Dodgers, further strengthening what may already have been the strongest roster in Major League Baseball.
The Dodgers beat the New York Mets for Bauer’s services, with many outlets reporting that the two teams were the last ones remaining in the sweepstakes for the defending NL Cy Young Award winner.
Bauer Becomes Highest Paid Player Ever
Bauer made the announcement via his YouTube channel on Friday afternoon.
“Last season doesn’t matter anymore,” Bauer said in his announcement video. “Come April, what matters is this team, this group of players, this group of fans and the name across our chests. This season is about making sure history remembers us
MLB.com reported that Bauer has opt-outs after each of the first two years of the deal. He stands to make $40 million in 2021 and $45 million in 2022. He will be the highest paid player in Major League Baseball history in both years.
Bauer is coming off a year in which he went 5-4 with a stellar 1.73 ERA for the Cincinnati Reds. He also posted a .795 WHIP while giving up just 5.1 hits per nine innings in the shortened season.
That explains why Bauer could command a massive contract during this offseason. But there are reasons to question whether the 30-year-old will live up to the record contract.
“The Mets missing on Bauer is not the end of the world. And it is very much not an indictment of Steve Cohen and Sandy Alderson”
— SNY (@SNYtv) February 5, 2021
In nine seasons in the majors, Bauer has only posted an ERA below 4.00 twice. Those two seasons were both great: in 2018, he played in the All-Star Game while going 12-6 with a 2.21 ERA for the Cleveland Indians. He has also proven to be fairly durable, starting at least 26 games each season since 2014. But if the Dodgers get the more typical version of Bauer – the one that went 11-13 with a 4.48 ERA in 2019, for instance – that would fall far short of expectations.
Already Favored, Dodgers Now Standout World Series Pick
The Dodgers were already the favorites to win the 2021 World Series before this signing. Los Angeles went 43-17 in the shortened 2020 campaign, and expected to outpace the San Diego Padres and the rest of the NL West again this year.
Signing Bauer only strengthened that position. PointsBet now lists the Dodgers as the +350 pick to win the World Series. While the New York Yankees were once a near co-favorite with Los Angeles, the Bronx Bombers now stand at +550. The Padres (+800) and Chicago White Sox (+900) sit further back on the board.
The signing of Bauer leaves only a few notable free agents remaining on the board this offseason. The biggest name may be former Braves outfielder Marcell Ozuna, while Justin Turner, Nelson Cruz, and Trevor Rosenthal are also available.