Not that it was unexpected by any means, but right-handed starting pitcher Trevor Bauer has rejected the Cincinnati Reds qualifying offer for the 2021 season that would have paid him $18.9M. His agent, Rachel Luba, tweeted out that while Bauer is turning down the offer it does not mean he isn’t not willing to return to Cincinnati.

Trevor Bauer has rejected the QO but not the Reds, & he looks forward to speaking w/them & all other interested teams thru Free Agency

The qualifying offer extended to Trevor Bauer will get the Cincinnati Reds an additional draft pick as compensation if Bauer signs with another organization this offseason. If he returned to the Reds they will not get an additional draft pick – but they would get Bauer and that trade off seems like a good one. The compensation that Cincinnati would get in terms of a draft pick depends on the value of the deal he signs elsewhere (if he does). If he were to only go with a 1-year deal, that could work against the Reds quite a bit as the cut-off point is a $50M deal in terms of landing a pick after the 1st round or not.

When it comes to Trevor Bauer, he’s long talked about only signing 1-year deals. This year, though, as he approached free agency he backed off of that a little bit and noted he was open to multi-year offers. His agent also noted that he’d be open to pitching in Japan if the deal were right.

In 2020, Bauer put up arguably the best season of any pitcher in the National League. He was named as one of the finalists for the Cy Young Award in the National League along with Yu Darvish of the Chicago Cubs and Jacob deGrom of the New York Mets. Bauer’s 1.73 ERA, 0.79 WHIP, and .159 batting average against were all best in the National League. We’ll find out next week whether or not the Reds have their first ever Cy Young Award winner or not.

If Cincinnati wants to bring Bauer back, and it seems fair to say that they do, it’s not going to be cheap. If a short term deal can be had, it’s going to be for a lot more money per year than a long term deal would be that has more money overall guaranteed, but at a lower annual rate. In both scenarios, Bauer is going to get paid and he’s going to get paid very well.

37 Responses

  1. doofus

    No surprise.

    Question is whether Castellini will come up with the coin to resign him?

  2. Mark Moore

    I’m shocked, I’m shocked! There’s gambling in this establishment … (your winnings, sir)

    It’s the next step in the dance. You have to figure we make him some kind of an offer. Question is how much for how long?

  3. Bred

    How about in the neighborhood of 90 million for 3 years with an opt out each year. For him that’s like signing a series of one year contracts. After next year, the Reds should have Green and Lodolo ready, so even if he left, the starting pitching should be strong.

    • Redleg4life

      Hunter greene seems like a bullpen arm to me especially after Tommy john. Lodolo definitely for the rotation and honestly unless Joey votto retires tomorrow we won’t have enough to bring back Bauer ?

      • Doug Gray

        It’s not 2001 anymore. Tommy John surgery isn’t some questionable thing that forces guys to the bullpen, if they even make it back.

      • Redleg4life

        Yeah but if he can still throw 100 mph then I would like that as a multi inning relief monster for us.

      • Doug Gray

        There’s a reason Max Scherzer gets about $40M a year and the best closers get $15M a year. Dominant starters are far more valuable.

        If a guy can start, let them.

      • R Perry

        Joey retiring…from your lips to God’s ears!

  4. Sliotar

    This is one of the few situations in MLB that is immune from “Coronavirus changed everything.’

    At the time of acquiring Bauer, the Reds had to know this is likely where they would be at the end of 2020 …. Bauer turning down their qualifying offer.

    I get the feeling the Reds primary owner got sick of the 90+-loss seasons and the “re-build” going nowhere, and charged Williams/Krall to do something to shake things up. Anything … even if it was just a 1-year plus of Bauer.

    I will be pleasantly surprised if they make Bauer any kind of market-based offer.

  5. Doc

    Don’t break the bank or hamstring the organization financially for years trying to sign him. Good as he was this shortened season, his only high quality full season is a couple years in the rearview mirror.

    Reds need to figure out how to build teams like Tampa Bay, Miami and Oakland do. Regular winners. Manageable payroll. Otherwise it will be lifetimes between championships.

    How many teams have huge payrolls and didn’t come close to winning it this year. Dodgers finally won after what, 30 years of high spending? One championship in how many years? Reds were hamstrung by Bailey’s contract when his arm blew, and now by Votto’s contract as age diminishes his skills. Get smart. There is no guarantee that two of the upcoming Bauer contract years won’t be spent in surgery and rehab.

    With a good crop of promising youngsters, let them take the helm. You could probably sign Castillo, Mahle, Greene and Lodolo, among others, to nice deals for what one pitcher, Bauer would cost.

    • Jimbo44CN

      Agree. Going out on a limb for Bauer(and I like him a lot) is not worth hamstringing the organization for years.

    • JayTheRed

      Bailey’s contract was just not good from the moment they wrote it. Bailey had 1 good season with the team and I always felt he was a #3 starter at best. Bauer is intense and puts every ounce of energy into every pitch. I’ve never heard such a louder pitcher in my life. I’d say go up to 110 million for 3 years at most.. If that doesn’t get it done then move on.

    • Michael Smith

      Doc great points. Only 8ssue is putting Miami in with Tampa and Oakland

  6. Tom Mitsoff

    MLBTradeRumors predicts Bauer will get four years, $128 million from the Dodgers. I was absolutely stunned to see their annual free agent destination and salary predictions. I’m just curious, do any of you think teams are going to be offering those kind of contracts? It seems to me it’s highly unlikely. But maybe I’m misreading everything that’s been happening.

    I don’t see the Reds offering ANY free agent contracts like they did last off-season, and I suspect the majority of teams will be in the same boat. I hope I’m wrong.

    • Mark Moore

      MLBTR made a bunch of SWAG’s … this was one of them. Pretty close to impossible to predict 2021 given what 2020 was and the CBA before 2022.

    • JayTheRed

      Dodgers don’t need starting pitching at all. Even if it is a guy who is cy young for the NL this season. I predict he doesn’t go to the Dodgers, I don’t know who will get him.

      Also just want to point out that the MLB Trade rumors team is not very accurate on the suggestions for who is going where in the past 2 years. They are simply guesses. I can do that too.

  7. Sliotar


    I will offer an alternative to passing on Bauer….

    1-year, $40 million … and make the offer known, via MLB media “insiders.”

    deGrom is getting $33.5M in 2021 and is a good comp for Bauer.

    If Bauer turns it down … Reds tell everyone “we tried, even with COVID around.”

    If Bauer accepts … Reds are solid favorites to win NL Central, certainly in pack behind Dodgers to represent NL in World Series.

    Votto/Moustakas/Suarez most likely to decline from here on … Cubs/Cardinals in transition ….

    2021 is wide open to take the division with Bauer.

    And the Reds “window” with Votto (such as it is) feels like it is closing.

    • Sliotar

      Again, I will pleasantly surprised if such an offer is made.

  8. RedsGettingBetter

    I wrote a comment yesterday talking about Reds should land a solid defensive and offensive SS first of all. They could let Bauer go so look for a cheaper veteran SP in FA such as Morton, Minor, Arrieta (by the way, nobody is talking about Arrieta) or make the race for Stroman or Tanaka. Mahle should get a rotation spot next season and hoping Miley will be healthy.

  9. Charlie Waffles

    I would guess Bauer’s agent has been in contact with enough front office personnel from around the League that they could offer something more than where the Qualifying Offer stands at. That is pretty much all Bauer and his agent needed to know to have to reject the QO. Bauer’s market will sort itself out over the next month or two, the $$ and years. Both LA teams in the mix could drive Bauer’s price much higher than Cincinnati is able to go. The Mets, SF, TOR and ATL all are possible bidders with money to spend for pitching. The Reds will throw an obligatory offer out to Bauer, but it will underwhelm in every aspect.

  10. Roger Garrett

    I agree with everything you have said Tom.We are a long way from being able to compete with this starting 8 and will only get worse as they get older.I build around Senzel,Wink,Garcia and the young catcher and move on.Joey.Moose and Eugenio are under contract so they ain’t going anywhere along with Big Nick who is here until he has a good year and then he is gone.Reds went for it in 2020 and now its time to get smart and look down the road to when Joey and Moose come off the books.Wrong time to add another 25 mill or more.

    • JayTheRed

      If DH stays I’m ok with Votto sticking around.
      Senzel oops I broke my finger or toe or i’m sick. Has to do something this season or good bye.
      I like Winker he reminds me of Jay Bruce with his hitting streaks though.
      Moose to 1b should be fine there.
      Garcia needs to improve his hitting at least some before he comes up to the big club.
      there are some pretty nice stop gaps out there at SS for 2 year deals maybe.

    • Michael Smith


      Votto in 2018 had a 128 ops+ so not following your below average for last three years comment

  11. CFD3000

    I actually like that Bauer would prefer shorter, higher dollar contracts. It’s riskier for him – strongly dependent on health and productivity – but actually less risky for the Reds. Long term contracts, especially for pitchers, can be a very expensive gamble in multiple ways (think Bailey or Zito or David Price). If I’m the Reds I’m all in for two years at whatever it takes – $70M? $75M? $80M? But of course it’s not my money so easy to say. But that’s a big boost for 2021 and 2022 without the long term risk of paying a struggling or injured pitcher big big dollars. And it’s a bridge to Greene and Lodolo. So I’m in for Bauer, starting Stephenson and trading Barnhart or Casali, and maybe finding a one or two year shortstop not named Gregorius. Otherwise it’s just fine tune the bullpen and the margins. But that’s just my opinion…

    • Mark Moore


      I’m right there with you across the board on this. I’d only add I’m not interested in a year of Lindor either.

  12. west larry

    I was ready to post a comment that the reds should offer two years at 70 million –
    you’ve already done that. I also concur that we need a shortstop for a year or two. We agree Stevenson should play, and one of their existing catchers must go. I hope we have the dh foe the reds sake-it allows us not to put votto in the field. Votto is not the current worst contract. The angels are paying Puljols 30 million a year through 2024, but they have more financial clout then the reds and can afford to absorb such contracts.

    • Charlie Waffles

      Pujols is a free agent after 2021 and Votto after 2023. But yes, the Angels have been saddled with Pujols’s contract for a few years now. However, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if the Angels add Trevor Bauer’s new contract to their payroll with Pujols coming off the books after next year. And Upton’s massive salary comes off the books after 2022.

      • west larry

        you are correct waffles. I guess my old eyes saw his contract through 2024 instead of 2021. I’m glad you caught that.

  13. MBS

    Scenario 1, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40 – 5 year 150.

    Scenario 2, Don’t sign Bauer, get Lindor, sign Hand, and pick up a LH bat utility player for the bench.

    I would be very happy if we were able to do scenario 2.

    • Jimbo44CN

      Really, a left handed utility guy? What about Goodwin, Davidson, and the other left handed guys they tried and failed with this year, along with Shogo, who I think with more playing time could improve, but still he was more or less in that role this year. As far as Lindor goes, no way, Just a waste of money.

      • MBS

        Davidson is a righty, Goodwin is the 5th or 6th OF, don’t need a player like that making 3 or 4 M on the roster, and Shogo is a starter.

        The best overall SS in baseball is a waste of money?

        Considering he’d be arguably our best hitter, and fill the most important defensive position on the field, I’d say he is very worth the money.

      • Jimbo44CN

        My point was that they tried a bunch of utility players this year, and it didn’t work. Totally agree thay Goodwin was a mistake, and the other guy I was thinking of was Payton. And yes, for only one year I believe it’s a waste of money. Especially if we have to give up prospects.

  14. Jonathan Linn

    Did Votto’s Contract really hinder the Reds from competing? I think that is a false narrative that has been going around for years…IMO, if this was Bench or Morgan…people wouldn’t be complaining as much. Bailey is a different story; although, he did receive market value when he signed his contract. There was no way to know he would tank like he did after signing his contact. If he lived up to his #2-#3 SP status, the contract would have been a winner

    Side note, I agree with the 3 @ 90M -120M with an opt out after each year by both sides.

    • Michael Smith


      In my opinion the answer is no. Votto’s contract up until this year was not a heavy weight. The complete lack of involvement in free agency combined with ok but not great talent development killed the team for the second half of 10’s