Trevor Bauer will be a free agent when the postseason ends. So will Freddy Galvis and Anthony DeSclafani. There’s also a chance that Nick Castellanos could be a free agent, too, if he exercises his opt-out clause – though we don’t think that he will do that. Teams can offer players that will be free agents a qualifying offer as long as the player has never received one in the past and the player was with the organization for the full season.

A qualifying offer is a 1-year deal that is worth the average salary of the top 125 salaries for the following season. If the player accepts the deal, the team will of course honor that contract. If the player declines it, the organization will get a draft pick. Where that pick falls depends on the team that signs the player and how large of a contract the player eventually signs. You can read more about all of the rules for that here.

Evan Drellich of The Athletic reported this morning that the qualifying offer this offseason will be $18.9M. That’s up from $17.8M last year.

With all due respect to both Freddy Galvis and Anthony DeSclafani – they aren’t going to get qualifying offers. Both of them will land big league jobs in free agency – be that with the Reds or someone else, but they won’t be getting the kind of offers that would warrant Cincinnati making them a qualifying offer.

We know that Trevor Bauer is going to hit free agency. He, unlike Nick Castellanos, does not have money and years sitting on the table with a current contract that he needs to weigh the options of “can I get a better deal this year in free agency than what’s already sitting here for me” – his contract is up. Bauer has spent the playoffs making comments like “(insert team in the playoffs) looks good but could use some more starting pitching” – including this fun exchange from yesterday:

He’s also mentioned several times in response to fan comments about the Reds that none of this means he wouldn’t come back to Cincinnati. Of course, it’s his right to go out and see what he can get – he’s earned that right and he’s earned every penny he’ll get paid.

The voting for the 2020 National League Cy Young Award has already taken place, but we won’t know the results of that voting until after the playoffs. But there seems to be a pretty good chance that Trevor Bauer will have his name engraved onto the award after the season he put up for the Cincinnati Reds – which would make him the first winner in the history of the franchise. Bauer led the league in ERA, complete games, WHIP, and batting average against, while finishing in the top five in nearly any other category you can think of. He put the team on his back and carried them throughout the season on days when he took the mound.

Bauer has noted in the past he only wants to sign 1-year deals. There’s a lot of reasons behind that, but sometimes things change, too. We’re all going to have to wait and see how that plays out for Bauer this offseason. What does seem pretty clear, though, is that he’s worth every last bit of a qualifying offer and the team would be thrilled if he accepted one. It won’t be offered yet, because it can’t be – but when the time comes, expect Cincinnati to make that offer.

With Nick Castellanos things get a bit more complicated. He’s got an opt-out clause both this offseason and next offseason. The outfielder will have three years and $48,000,000 remaining on his deal if he sticks around after this offseason. For him to choose free agency he would have to be comfortable that he can get a better deal than that.

That’s a hard sell given that he hit .225/.298/.486 on the year in his 60 games played. That line is a big decline from the .289/.337/.525 line he had entering free agency last year – in fact, it’s the worst season he’s had by OPS+ since 2015. When you toss in the fact that teams are claiming they have less money than ever to spend because they couldn’t have fans in the stands and it just seems all the more likely that waiting another year to see what happens both on the field for Castellanos, and what happens in the world regarding the on-going pandemic and what that means for revenues around the league makes sense.

All of that said, there are always reasons beyond money for players to want out. While there’s been no public reasons to think Nick Castellanos doesn’t want to be in Cincinnati, if there is a reason he doesn’t want to be, he could take the opportunity to go elsewhere. If he were to opt out, the Reds could also extend him a qualifying offer at $18.9M. Like much of the rest of the team, the underlying numbers suggest that he should hit better than he did in 2020 – but given the season he just had, the Reds would basically be offering him a significant raise for 2021 (he’s due $14,000,000 from the Reds for the upcoming season) while seeing his numbers decline.

63 Responses

  1. Mark Moore

    If they don’t offer it to TB, the entire front office needs to be tested for insanity. Get what we can get if we cannot sign him … and anyone who has followed my comments knows I don’t think we will get that chance.

    Nobody else should get one. I completely agree with that.

  2. jim walker

    Gotta be a no brainer to offer TB. If Castellanos wants to walk on his contract coming off the season he had, I’d thank him for his efforts this year and wish him well in all his future endeavors when that did not impact against the Reds.

    • Mark Moore


      No need to offer him $5M more than he would have gotten had he stuck with it for 2021 … which he’s likely to do from my perspective.

    • RojoBenjy

      If Castellanos walks, it saves money! I’m all for it–frees up an outfield spot for some young guns. Let’s face it–this is not going to be a 2021 playoff team.

      • JayTheRed

        With what we know so far and based on the performance this season. I would honestly agree with you.

        There is a long offseason ahead of us and you never know what is going to happen.

  3. SultanofSwaff

    Not sure it means anything when you’re talking about multi-generational wealth, but Bauer mentioned on a livestream that he never had as much fun on a team as this year and that Derek Johnson is the best coach he’s ever had.

    • TR

      Put that along with the best offer the Reds can make and see what happens.

    • RojoBenjy

      What are the odds that a big money team poaches Derek Johnson?

    • Scott Arand

      I have been a Reds Fan since 72 . Yes that makes me old . But it is rare to get a talent such as TB . The Reds need to put their best offer into signing this Guy. He is the premier pitcher in the MLB. Even if it means taking some of Joey’s money.

  4. Bred

    Hard yes on Bauer. Hard no on Castellanos. In fact I hope he opts out. The Reds could use that money to buy low on another player that gets on base more and plays better D. I hope by the time this happens a decision on the DH is made so the team can be constructed correctly.

  5. LDS

    Why wouldn’t they? The others, including Castellanos if it comes to that – NO. Money better used elsewhere.

  6. KG

    If Bauer does indeed win the CYA and the Reds don’t backup the Brinks truck to his front door, then it’s a darn shame. He would become the first Cy Young Award winner in the team’s history and then we let him slip away. Obviously, the Dodgers, Yankees, Cubs and many others can outbid us, but we’ve GOT TO find a way to make him stay. His grit, determination, attitude, leadership and competitiveness reminded me of Pete Rose (if Pete were a pitcher). And those types of players are once-in-a-generation. Plus, he’s only 29 yrs old. #PayBauer

    • doofus

      I love it when he struts off the mound like Conor McGregor.

      This team needs some fire, Bauer brings it!

  7. Joe

    I’ve been wondering about this the last few weeks and have a question about how QO work. Let’s say Bauer is really doing 1 yr deals. Now let’s assume a ton of teams would offer anywhere from 25-35M per season. Honestly I could see a team offering 40M, its only 1 year anyway which teams may favor.

    Now if the reds do the QO, aren’t they essentially taking themselves out of the running, basically hoping Bauer likes Cincy so much he would take a MASSIVE discount?

    I know you get a draft pick back if he declines and then signs somewhere else. Can he decline, and then you offer more later just like everyone else? This is all assuming Bob C gave the greenlight for much higher money of course. Basically what I’m asking is do they have to roll the dice and offer higher than 18 to get him, but not get the draft pick back?

    • Doug Gray

      Yes – the Reds can make a qualifying offer and then still sign him in free agency. But, if that were to happen, they would not get a draft pick for making the offer.

  8. Klugo

    Can a QO be for more than the average?

    When does Castellanos have until to opt out?

    • Doug Gray

      All qualifying offers are the same – you can not alter them.

  9. Nick in NKY

    The progression of outcomes with Bauer should probably go as follows:
    1. Negotiate an appropriate long term deal. If he declines based on wanting only 1 yr deals, then:
    2. Offer an appropriate value 1 year deal. If he declines because he wants to leave, then:
    3. Offer the QO and take the draft pick compensation.

    After the budget is settled post-Bauer outcome, then the others can be addressed.

    • JayTheRed

      I think you have to make the qualifying offer before a certain deadline though.

    • AllTheHype

      Right idea, wrong order. #3 will be #1.

  10. doofus

    I love it when he struts off the mound like Conor McGregor.

    This team needs some fire, Bauer brings it!

  11. Mudpuppy

    I see him going to the Cardinals. They open the purse for big name players. I hope I am wrong.

  12. Rednat

    i felt Bauer became frustrated with Votto a couple of time this year. not sure that will factor in to his decision making but this will still be Joey Votto’s team next year.

  13. Charlie Waffles

    If Zach Wheeler got a 5 year / $118MM deal from the Phillies last year after a very solid year, then Bauer if he wins the CYA should get much more on an AAV. That is a smidgen under $24MM per year. 4 years at $130MM for Bauer would average out to $32.5MM per year. That gives Bauer time for another big contract at age 33 or 34.

    • Doug Gray

      The problem is the 2019 offseason and the 2020 offseason are likely to be very, very different because of the world we now live in compared to the one we lived in a year ago.

  14. swayback8

    TB is definitely worth the QO, but I’m curious if they will make a real attempt at competing with the big offers or just making it look good. Would love to see this pitching staff over a 162 game season with an improved offensive approach.

  15. Johnnie Sparks

    This has nothing to do bout Bauer but anyone been watching the Houston Astros hitters. Hitting to the opposite field they make it look really easy reds made it look like a titantic struggle. Just saying. Everyone knew the reds had the worst offence out of the 16 playoff teams.

    • Frankie Tomatoes

      The Houston Astros pulled the baseball more than every team in the Majors this season except for the Tampa Bay Rays.

  16. TR

    Wonder if Reds could get creative on a deal for him. Maybe offer a 4 year deal with opt outs after years 1 and 2. Make it for $15 mil per year for $60 million guaranteed. Now structure in some varying levels of incentives that could top out at $25 million more a year. Trevor likes to bet on himself and gives him some certainty ($60 mil minimum) and some upside if Cy Young level ($40 mil/year).

    • Frankie Tomatoes

      Bauer made $17.5 this past year. Then he went out and was the best pitcher in the league. Why would he take a pay cut?

      • TR

        Not a pay cut as could earn incentives that push his annual value above Cole. Some incentives easier and some harder so hence the chance to be highest paid pitcher but gives him guaranteed money if hurt. Opt outs allow him to keep a year by year deal. If Cy Young level then Reds could think worth it

    • AllTheHype

      TB will get more than 25M per without incentives. He and his agent would have a good laugh at that offer.

  17. Jeff

    Dump Bell and offer Bauer the Manager AND the Pitching job.

    The Reds need a manager who can light a FIRE under some of the lackadaisical, comfortable Reds players.

    Can you imagine coming back to the dugout after not getting a runner home from third with less then 2 outs and you have to face Bauer?????

    • scotly50

      The Reds have no business signing Bauer except for that reason.

  18. Frankie Tomatoes

    Cincinnati has to at least make a run at Trevor Bauer this offseason. Have. To. Do. It.

  19. Ron

    Bauer is definitely worth it. I think if he goes elsewhere it will be less about the money difference and more about getting a chance to play for a proven winner. There will be several proven winners ready to sign him.

    I agree with you about Bauer’s frustration with Votto and I don’t blame him. If this is Joey’s team next year, then we’re in trouble. I appreciate what Votto has done during his career here, but this is not his team anymore. The Reds need to realize that when it comes to playing time and where he bats in the lineup. A player’s contract shouldn’t interfere with what’s best for the team.

  20. Doesn’t matter

    Ding Ding Jeff wins the crown best thing I ve read on any red site in 2020.I tip me hat to the gentlemen!With words like this that kid will want to stay in the home of professional baseball,that gave him the opportunity of a pitchers lifetime ,the C.Y.

  21. Justin

    If he’s signing a one year deal, it will for sure be for less than $50M. That means we will get a pick after the Competitive Balance Round B instead of Round A.

    • Doug Gray

      Yeah – that’s one of the things that may (or may not have) been in the math in terms of what to trade FOR Bauer last summer. Obviously he could have changed his mind about the 1-year deal thing. Even a 2-year deal for him probably gets to $50M, though with how 2020 played out, who knows how teams are going to approach free agency in terms of dollars offered up?

  22. seadog

    Lets get real people–They will make him a “qualifying” offer. He will not sign He will “sign” elsewhere. The Reds will get the draft pick.
    I have been quiet for a while. Trying to let the dust settle.
    Really encouraging for Doug Gray to admit. BABIP is not luck. There are “multiple” issues with this stat, “Luck” is not one of them.
    The last thing this team should do is sign him long term.
    There are no “short” answers for this team. FREE_AGENCY is not one of them.

    • Doug Gray

      I don’t know where you think I admitted that, because I absolutely did not. Luck absolutely plays into BABIP. I, nor anyone else worth reading or listening to has ever said BABIP is ONLY luck, and if that’s something you took away from it then you weren’t paying attention.

  23. seadog

    People here/elsewhere are hating on Dick Williams. My self as well. What he did leave. An amazing pitching core for 2021. Think about it?? One of his best “trades” was for Archie. He is only 27. Think about the rotation for next year….Tell me one “prospect” he traded in the last few years that has produced?? Downs/Gray?? Trammel? He will end up being a 4th OF. None will be a “STAR”. Our rotation in 2021 can be awesome. Our pen can be/has been awesome.
    Look at the rotation for 2021–
    1. Gray
    2. Castillo
    3. Mahle
    4. Antone
    5. Simms/Miley/Lorenzen/Stephenson/Lodolo/Santillan
    So many options. This pen will be good in 2021.Mark my words….

  24. DaveCT

    I tend to look at bit in a different way. What do the Reds have to offer Bauer that no other team does. 1) Boddy/Driveline; 2) DJ; 3) solid if not spectacular support among the other pitchers on the staff. Consider a staff lead by Bauer, with Sonny, Castillo, Wiley, Mahle, and, likely Lorenzen. Plus, on the way, Lodolo, Greene, Santillan, as well as a host of lower minor leaguers. Not to mention the bullpen of Iggy, Garrett, Bradley Sims, Antone, and others. That is an opportunity for Bauer to lead A great staff, and To pitch on on an exceptional staff. With an excellent system, and an outstanding ML coach. He enjoyed his mentoring of Greene. Multiply that: If the money is there, and I’d argue it should be to the penny if. It more, he’s Trevor has got a great opportunity here. Built in support. Built in leadership.

  25. Moses

    This is a ridiculous question! Clickbait even… There’s no question that the Reds will offer Bauer a QO. Problem is that, if he sticks to the one year deal promise, which I suspect he will, the QO system will work against the Reds, since he won’t get a $50 million deal. Bummer! But even with Covid, it would not surprise me in the least if he gets $40 million. One year deals are a dream come true for some teams when it comes to pitching. Lots of upside and limited risk of injury. Very likely that he will get the highest one year contract for any pitcher, maybe even for any MLB player.

    • seadog

      Agreed he might get an “historic” one year contract. Problem is Trevor does not think that way. He may get a “bit” of a team ownership. The system is against him “MLB”. They are all about themselves.

  26. seadog

    Doug Gray was not there. His baseball cards are good!!! They are that cards. Opinions. A SHOT IN TIME.
    Doug, you were not there for any of this….
    1. You were not there in 1919–Did the White Sox gamble?? Did they throw the series?
    2. Did Pete Rose ever “bed” a 17/16 year old as you say? Why do you hate his statue outside the stadium?
    3. Were you there when Bill James wrote his book in 1977?

    Does anybody here even understand what SABR stands for?? Society of American Baseball Research. Better known as SABR—

    All you do Doug is speculate–let me say it again–SPECULATE. Pete Rose lived it. Doug Collins lived it. You did not. Quit “speculating” on the “MORAL” velocity of teams/people. You were not there. Speculate all you want on the future….Not the past.
    Quit the “hating” on teams that win. Houston will win this year, accept it.

    You have never lived it. I have met Pete Rose several times. I helped clean out Marge’s house after she died. I have spoken with Jim Bowden multiple times. and yes, they all have there issues. But, they all won. Houston wins. Dusty wins.

    Winners always have the HATERS– Don’t be one of those “haters”.

    • Doug Gray

      What the heck are you talking about?

    • Doug Gray

      And my guy, as for #2, yeah, he absolutely did unless you think that both Pete Rose and the woman (who was a girl at the time) in question are both lying about it for some reason because they both say it happened. The only difference in their statements are that Pete said he thought she was 16 when it started and she said she was 14 or 15 when it started.

      And for the record – you sound like an awful big “hater” right now.

      • seadog

        Doug, quit “hating” on Rose. There is nothing worse than that if true. As I said. I will say again. YOU WERE NOT THERE–show proof of your thought. Don’t hate on Pete Rose if you can’t show proof. Don’t listen to other thoughts because you hate him. Has nothing to do with baseball. The Man hit 4192 hits. He is from Cincinnati. My whole point is—-He knows how to win in baseball….Not life. We need more people to understand to be both—-HIT/HIT and win at life. Cincinnati can do that. We are on the same page.

      • Doug Gray

        So here’s what’s going to happen – I’m going to just block you because I’m not dealing with this crap.

        This post was about Trevor Bauer. It had nothing at all to do with Pete Rose.

        Learn to use the internet if you want the proof about Pete Rose. It’s public information you dolt.

    • Indy Red Man

      Cheat to win. Win at any cost. Count me out.

      Not getting long winded here, but the Patriots have cheated for 15+ years and picked up 6 rings, but they’ll always be lowlifes imo!

      Ex-Bengal RB Benjarvus Green-Ellis played with the Pats for 4 years and had zero fumbles because they were taking air out of the ball and making it easier to secure. Then he plays 2 years with the Bengals and fumbles 5 times.

      NE went from middle of the pack in fumbles to far & away #1 in few fumbles after the rule was changed where teams could play with their own footballs. They cost Peyton Manning & the Colts atleast 1-2 SB rings

      • seadog

        Thank you for making my point.

        And here we have a “Patriot” hater because everyone thinks if you win–you must have cheated??


        Man, haters just hate.

        I want to win, not at any cost. These allegations are just unfounded. Especially the one Doug has against Pete Rose. You can hate, but don’t throw “allegations” against the all-time hits leader in MLB with no proof.
        People on this site/elsewhere hate on Bauer, because they think his spin rate is because of abuse. Hate on Rose (God knows why)? Hate on the Patriots. Hate on the Astros…

        They all have TWO things in common. 1. They win. 2. People hate on them because they win.

      • greenmtred

        Nobody said that if you win you must have cheated. What they said, more or less, is that, if you cheated, you didn’t really win. No, we weren’t “there,” but if you apply that standard across the board, the entire criminal justice system has to be a scam.

  27. Hanawi

    No brainer on the QO. He’ll decline. I’d then offer 2-3 years at 25-28 million per to see if he’ll bite. No longer. Reds are still kind of in a win now mode with a lot of old players. They need to try to add for the next two years and then tear it down again.

  28. Pablo

    Thread derailment alert!! Why are we talking about Pete Rose all of a sudden? What’s next, the Kennedy assassination?

    To the current topic, YES make Bauer the qualifying offer. Will be interesting to see what happens with Disco.

    • Jimbo44 CN

      Yes, please, back to Bauer.
      I don’t know, hope he stays, but I think the only way he stays is if Bell is gone. Too much of a personality difference. I also dont’ know how other teams management views a guy like Bauer, who is somewhat of a loose cannon. There are some teams out there(really good teams) that do not want that kind of distraction. Just a thought.

    • RedsMonk65

      Yes, where was Pete on November 22, 1963?


  29. Optimist

    Always thought “hometown discounts” were illusory or wishful thinking, but Bauer may prove an exception. Consider both of his oft repeated positions on 1 – 1 year deals, and 2 – this coaching staff.

    If the result is that he’d take 1-3 mill. less from the Reds than anyone else, and it’s under the silly line (say the Yankees offer $45m), then the Reds should do it. They can manage a one-year mistake, unlike the Homer decision.

    I’m afraid he’ll command 35-40, and the Reds may just get sacred off. That, or he’ll decide to go to heavy contender (Yanks, Dodgers, etc..)

  30. Roger Garrett

    Yes you make him an offer but I have no reason to believe he pitches again for the Reds.Bauer will get his money.Most players or at least that’s what you hear want to win a ring.He saw the offense and the defense up close and in person so I am sure he can find other teams that hit it and catch it and throw it better.It just is what is it is.

  31. DaveCT

    QO plus highest free agent contract to date. He’ll sign, and the Reds will finally have one of those ‘once in a generation,’ type guys. I don’t care if he’s Maddox, Glavine, or Smoltz, they are all equal (and I personally felt Smoltz killed the post season).

    There several attractions here as no where else. Kyle Boddy/Driveline in the clubhouse; Dereck Johnson et al, on the pitching staff; a great staff to lead, and be seen as the leader of; and talent to mentor and help make great close and getting closer (Lodolo, Hunter Greene, Santillan, the next waves of kids coming up in a specially designed system). There is huge, huge Incentive to stay and learn, and lead and influence — league-wide, actually. It’s a unique, special opportunity.

    “Fight me.”


  32. Preach

    I think above all else, TB wants to win. Outside of the money issue, the Reds may have to do other things to ensure his future presence. What do you suppose those things are?

  33. Drrobo

    The Reds have a concern other than opt outs and signing TB. They must improve the defense and balance the offense. I just can’t sell myself on either Winker or Senzel. I want to but results just aren’t there on a consistent basis. I am of the same mind with Galvis. Farmer gets to balls that Galvis doesn’t. And there is the Garcia factor. The body of work isn’t complete. Greene? Ladola? Sp? T. Stephenson? I see a lot more to do.