Trevor Bauer has been extended a qualifying offer by the Cincinnati Reds according to Mark Feinsand of This move comes as a shock to absolutely no one. Bauer put up arguably the best season of any pitcher in the National League during 2020 and could be on the verge of becoming the Reds first ever Cy Young Award winner. We’ll find that out in a week-and-a-half when the announcement is made.

This season only six players were extended a qualifying offer. Joining Bauer on the list were Kevin Gausman of the San Francisco Giants, Marcus Stroman of the New York Mets, DJ LeMahieu of the New York Yankees, JT Realmuto of the Philadelphia Phillies, and George Springer of the Houston Astros. That’s it.

The value of the qualifying offer is the average salary of the top 125 salaries in baseball each season. This year that makes it $18.9M. A player can only be offered it once in their career. If a player accepts it, it’s a 1-year deal for that price. If they decline it and sign with another team, the team that offered the deal will get a draft pick the following season.

Cincinnati would love to have him accept the deal and return. He’s coming off of a 2020 season that saw him post a 1.73 ERA with a 0.79 WHIP and 100 strikeouts in 73.0 innings pitched. While the season was limited due to it’s 60-game nature, it’s one of the more dominant runs in Reds pitching history.

For the Cincinnati Reds and Trevor Bauer, the decision must be made within the next 10 days for Bauer to accept or reject the deal. While the upcoming free agent period seems like it’s going to be slow and offers are going to be far lower than they would in a normal year, players like Bauer should still be able to land deals that should guarantee them more than what a 1-year qualifying offer should get them.

With that said, if he likes all of the things that Cincinnati has to offer, maybe he accepts the deal and gets paid well for 2021, and then approaches free agency again after the season with the hopes that the financial issues that are at the forefront of Major League Baseball have a better outlook moving forward and teams are more willing to write bigger checks in line with players talent. This probably is an unlikely outcome for Bauer, but it’s not something that should be entirely off of the table, either.

20 Responses

  1. Mark Moore

    Good. Wonder if he’ll accept it or roll the dice on a weird market.

    In other news, former Red Kevin Gausman garnered the same $18.9M QO. If that’s not the definition of insanity, I don’t know what is. SMH big time!

    Check that … true insanity would be Gausman not accepting it.

    • Doug Gray

      The Gausman one is the one that seems to have caught everyone by surprise. He’s a good pitcher, for sure, but is he THAT good? And in this market? Good for him, though. Take that deal, KG. Take. That. Deal.

      • Mark Moore

        Exactly … but good for him assuming he takes it. And it only took 59+ innings to get SF to go all-in.

  2. RedsGettingBetter

    If Bauer accepted the qualified offer, he would most likely be getting the same payment as Gausman, which is totally illogical … I can’t imagine what Rachel Luba would think about that situation.

    • Mark Moore

      It’s a completely crazy world … 2020 just got far weirder.

  3. Awa85

    This year teams don’t lose their draft pick, the offering team just gains one, correct? Thought I read that earlier in the year but seeing all sorts of different views on twitter.

  4. Sliotar

    Taking @Colorado Red’s proposed offer of 3 yrs-$105 million, opt out after Year 2…

    If the Reds don’t make that kind of offer … what does that say about trading for Bauer in the first place?

    That they wanted to take a 1-year gamble, and that was it?
    Trammell had a lot of expected future value at time of trade (like $50M). Most MLB teams don’t give that up readily these days.

    Even if the pandemic does not happen, this is likely the same spot they end in with Bauer … qualifying offer, he declines QO, then … he walks, Reds get a pick?

    If the Reds don’t make a “realistic” offer … does this get added to “possible reasons why Dick Williams left?”

    Trading for Bauer, ending up with only 75 wins in 2019, then letting him walk after 2020 without a serious market-based offer feels … panicky, short-sighted, “cheap” … something.

    Something not very strategic.

    • Sliotar

      Once Bauer turns down the qualifying offer, he and the Reds can still negotiate on another deal … I believe is how the system still currently works.

    • Mark Moore

      Push it to 3/$120 with the opt-out. But for crying out loud … make an offer of some kind, please!! TB actually seems to like it in Cincy.

  5. LDS

    Mookie Betts’ contract is $365m/12year, a bit over $30m/year. He plays nearly everyday. Yes, the Yankees paid more annually for Cole but the Yankees have a history of blowing big dollars. If that’s what it’s going to take to get Bauer, let him walk.

  6. Optimist

    30m per, for a year or two, 90 for 3 yrs, with a team buy out for 5-10m, after year 2. If collusion is in play, Reds should at least match anyone for a year. If the free spenders offer him 3 years guaranteed, thanks and bye.

  7. DataDumpster

    As much as I liked Bauer, the money is best spent elsewhere or more likely mostly not at all. I have full confidence in the the leadership of Derek Johnson and the rest of the pitching staff. Elsewhere, the problems to be dealt with are considerable and require more strategic thought than big money contracts.

  8. Steve Schoenbaechler

    Unless Bauer and the Reds made some sort of backroom agreement, or unless the Reds simply believe Bauer will take this offer, Bauer is gone. I mean, I would think he’s almost guaranteed of getting more elsewhere.

  9. Tom Reeves

    The Reds have to make this offer. It doesn’t preclude the Reds and Bauer reaching another deal but it does offer the Reds some downside protection if he takes another deal somewhere else. I like the 3y/$120m deal with an opt out for him after 2 years.

  10. JayTheRed

    The thing that makes me laugh so much is how much in 2019 many people on this very site didn’t want to keep Bauer period. I knew he would be improved, I didn’t expect this good of a season from him but still.

    I would love to see Bauer signed for 3 years. 115 – 120 million. Maybe give him one year to opt out, probably the 1st season.

  11. doofus

    Seriously, I will miss his Conor McGregor strut off of the mound if he does not resign with the Reds. He brought some character to this team that is sorely missing.

  12. John C.

    I am not sure where you guys think the Reds will spend $40M/year on a pitcher. We are not the Yankees or Dodgers. Bauer was great for 11 games this year. If you think you are hearing complaining about Votto’s contract, wait until you are paying Bauer $40M and he has an ERA of 4+ and is 9-9. He has had 2 great years in his career. The others were pretty middle of the road.

    • Doug Gray

      I certainly don’t think the Reds will do it – but almost every team can do it on a 1-year basis. IT’s being locked in for a lot of years at that price that is what separates the big and small market teams.

    • TR

      A lot of truth in your comment. Before going overboard to keep Trevor Bauer, the Reds should realize, along with their excellent pitching coach, they have one of the best starting and relief staffs in the NL. Shortstop should be the top priority.