Right before Christmas, former General Manager of both the New York Mets and Baltimore Orioles Jim Duquette, now of MLB Network Radio, joined SNY for a bit and spoke about how Trevor Bauer – a target of the Mets – was looking in free agency. Among the things Duquette noted is that Bauer wasn’t going to be accepting any one year offers. After a long period of time before he reached free agency of speaking about only taking deals that were one year in length so he could go compete for a World Series every year and pitch in those types of favorable situations, when reality came around to actually being a free agent, that mindset seems to have shifted some.
For the Cincinnati Reds that is both good news and bad news. Starting with the bad – if Cincinnati was going to realistically make a run at Trevor Bauer, it was going to likely be in the way of a short term, higher dollar contract rather than a long term but lower dollar per year contract.
But, if the Reds aren’t going to sign Trevor Bauer – and it seems more and more likely each day that they won’t – then Bauer not taking a deal that short works in their favor. Since Cincinnati offered the reigning Cy Young Award winner a qualifying offer and he turned it down, the Reds draft pick compensation is tied to the dollar amount that his contract he signs is valued at. Anything he signs that is worth $50M or more gives the Reds a draft pick following the 1st round in 2021. But if he were to sign a deal for less than that, then they would get a draft pick following the 2nd round in 2021. A one year deal for a player the caliber of Bauer, coming off of the year he just had, there’s not really a comparison. We haven’t seen that happen before. But it’s hard to imagine a deal for more than $50M would be signed for one season.
But even if Trevor Bauer were to sign a deal that was just two years, then $50M seems more than likely, and of course, anything beyond that gets the Reds exactly where they hoped to be if and when he signed elsewhere. While it’s not their hopeful outcome – which would be to bring Bauer back – it’s the next best thing given the circumstances.