You are likely shocked to find out that the Cincinnati Reds did not sign Trevor Bauer this offseason. The first ever winner of the Cy Young Award in franchise history signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers today. Jon Heyman of MLB Network was the first to report this. Mark Feinsand of is reporting that the deal is for $102,000,000 over three years, but has opt outs for each season.

In an offseason that has seen the Reds sign just two free agent contracts – Edgar Garcia and Sean Doolittle – for a combined $2,100,000, the reallocation of salary that was talked about earlier in the offseason hasn’t gone to players outside of the organization. And it hasn’t gone to Trevor Bauer, either. It’s still possible that a move could be made to bring someone in that could change that, but it’s where the organization sits right now.

As for Trevor Bauer, he’ll be enjoying his new city and his new team. After a disastrous first go with the Reds after being acquired in July of 2019 where he posted an ERA of 6.39 in 10 starts, Bauer came out in 2020 and dominated the National and American League Central divisions. In his 11 starts he posted a National League best 1.73 ERA in 11 starts, throwing two complete games, walking 17 batters, and picking up 100 strikeouts in 73.0 innings pitched. It was a season good enough that he landed 27 of the 30 first place votes for the Cy Young Award and ran away with it.

It’s been a while since anyone has seemingly believed that the Reds would re-sign Trevor Bauer. For Cincinnati, though, they don’t come away entirely empty handed. The organization extended a qualifying offer to the right-handed pitcher after the season, which he declined. Since Bauer signed a deal worth more than $50,000,000 this means that the Reds will pick up an additional draft pick between the 1st and 2nd rounds of the 2021 draft in July. If Bauer had signed a deal for less than $50,000,000 the Reds would have picked up a pick between the 2nd and 3rd rounds in the draft.

The Reds are going to have to replace Trevor Bauer in their rotation, and it’s not going to be easy to do in terms of getting the kind of production they got from him in 2020. Of course, even bringing back Bauer wasn’t likely to replicate that production, either. It would seem that Cincinnati will go with Luis Castillo, Sonny Gray, Tyler Mahle, and Wade Miley in the 1-4 spots of the rotation. The final spot in the rotation is up for grabs and there are plenty of candidates that could have a legitimate say in who the spot goes to. Michael Lorenzen would seem to be the front runner for the spot, but Tejay Antone, José De León, Jeff Hoffman, Riley O’Brien, Brandon Bailey, Tony Santillan, and perhaps Nick Lodolo could all put together a strong showing in the spring and grab the spot.

57 Responses

  1. Rut

    The rich get richer and the Reds stagnate like a dead fish rotting.

    In other news, water is still wet and Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead.

    • TR

      It’s a shock to learn Trevor has signed with his hometown team and that the Generalissimo is no longer around.

  2. D Ray White

    A non-salary capped MLB will continue to provide a tilted playing field towards the big markets. It needed to change years ago. Small market teams can only compete consistently if they have excellent front offices. Those FO’s must stay ahead of trends and mine underutilized assets and strategies to bolster chances of winning.

    The Reds, other than Driveline affiliations, have exhibited little of this cutting edge thought. Here we are, 25 years later, with nary a Playoff Series win, and an owner no closer to producing winning baseball than he was when he purchased the team. The farm system has been weakened in recent years, and the team, older and slower. It’s about time for another rebuild.

    • Doc

      You dismiss Driveline almost as an aside, but it looks as though they are a big deal upgrade over the past. Credit where credit is due.

      Bauer was 5-4.

  3. Dead Ball podcast

    Such a shame. I have seen the Reds win 3 World Championships in my life. I am grateful for that. But I don’t think I will love to see another. Baseball is broken and desperately needs a salary cap and floor.

    • Steven Ross

      I agree wholeheartedly. Got my championships early, thank goodness, but I just don’t see it happening with current ownership.

  4. LDS

    Where is Bowie Kuhn when you need him?

    • David

      Well, he’s dead, Jim. – Dr. Leonard McCory.

      • LDS

        Ok, Bones. Old enough to remember the Vida Blue/Tom Seaver could have been team. So it goes. We’re all Dodger fans now, I guess. At least, they want to win.

      • TR

        I might root for the Dodgers if they were still in Brooklyn.

      • JB

        Back in the day The Dodgers and Reds were in the same division. I dislike them and will never cheer for them. There was much hatred between the two teams.

      • RojoBenjy

        @JB agreed


        Except—when they humiliated the A’s in the 1988. Thanks, Gibby!

  5. west larry

    Bauer signed a 104 million three year deal with the dodgers. At least will get good draft picks for him.

    • doofus

      1st round supplemental? If so, Choose wisely Nick Krall, you cannot mess this up.

    • Bob Purkey

      and supposedly gets opt outs after seasons 1 & 2.

  6. scotly5o

    Bauer is not worth the money he will be receiving from the Dodgers. I am glad the Reds did not sign him even if they had the money.

    • VaRedsFan

      Because Cy Young winners don’t help a team win?

      • Aaron B.

        It’s crazy money and its an over pay… but if a team has infinite resources like the Dodgers I guess you expect it. Sure Bauer won Cy Young in a shortened season ( I really think he comes down to earth if the season keep s going). He can’t hit better hope the DH stays and he was suspect for like the year and a half before the cy young, also known to be a headcase. Regardless a great pitcher but this is mad money being spent here.

        I could live with a soft salary cap where teams like the Reds get bonus draft picks from other teams when they exceed their threshold.

      • greenmtred

        They certainly can–and do, the year they win it–but Bauer hasn’t always been what he was in 2020. It’s a gamble for the Dodgers, but a gamble they can afford.

      • jbonireland

        Wow the Cy Young winner with what 13 starts!

  7. David

    This may sound like religious heresy here, but I don’t think that signing Trevor Bauer at the prices that the Dodgers ended up spending, would have been the best allocation of resources for the Reds. The Reds weren’t going to spend that much money anyways on anybody, but IF they were to spend that much money, I don’t think signing Bauer would have been the best choice for that. His “marginal” contribution over someone else in the rotation is not going to be that great.
    Trevor may have likely had his “best” seasons behind him, and the Dodgers are spending a lot of money hoping that isn’t true.
    I think I have seen this movie before.

    • Jimbo44CN

      agree. Just think about Homer for a bit.

      • Rob Seng

        I would rather not. I did like him as Batman though.

  8. Rednat

    i bet Trevor will be missing Cincy here soon. LA likely will have no fans this year and the scrutiny he will be under from the press will not be a fun experience. but money talks i guess

    • Frankie Tomatoes

      Money talks. So does winning 100+ games for a franchise you know is going to do all that they can to try and win even more. The Dodgers have shown a true commitment to winning.

    • Westfester

      Trevor doesn’t seem too afraid to speak his mind. I think he’ll LOVE the extra attention.

      • jazzmanbbfan

        Bauer is from California and went to college there. He knows what he’s walking into and I don’t believe it will be a problem for him. As Westfester noted, he will likely love the attention.

  9. Redhaze

    I doubt they need salary relief but Krall should call about the availability of Corey Seager. Lux is ready to get playing time.

    • Bob Purkey

      Seager and Urias for Suarez, since the Dodgers don’t seem to be in any hurry to resign Turner.

      • doofus

        Seager is a FA after 2021. Boras is his agent. He is making $13.75mm in 2021.

        Why not Story, similar FA situation, but different agent? Story more skills.

  10. Mark Moore

    So with the opt outs it’s effectively 3 1-year contracts. And we get our draft pick.

    Happy for Trevor even though I’ll never be a Dodgers fan.

  11. Redhaze

    Do the Dodgers have to drop someone to clear space?

  12. CI3J


    That is some rotation, and they have some options for the 5th starter that would be most teams’ #2 or even #1. Remember what that felt like, Reds fans? Cueto, Arroyo, Bailey, Latos, with Leake eventually stepping into the #5 role.

    The current Reds’ rotation has a solid 1-2 punch with Castillo/Gray. Mahle may be good, or he may crash and burn. Miley is dangerously close to the age where pitchers can fall off a cliff. We’ll see who the #5 starter is.

    The Dodgers are where the Reds want to be. But boy are they a long way off.

    • Aaron B.

      Miley was a terrible signing from day 1 and which ever scout or assistant GM signed off on that is hopefully long gone. I am sorry I can’t pull my punches on that one.

      • Doug Gray

        Just guessing, but it was probably Derek Johnson…. so I’d be wary about your wish on that one.

      • Aaron B.

        You might be right Doug. Well your right Derek Johnson is beyond reproach, but we’ve seen this before where coaches over value veterans for their craftiness or whatever. It’s just dumb. Maybe in a big ball park but come on our formula should be very simple we need strikeouts. High velocity a must. None of this craft veteran nonsense. Arroyo pulled that off a few years before the wheels flew off, but he is an ecxeption not the norm. I also think with our small ballpark we should be chasing high contact guys knowing a bunch of lucky swings will result in wall scraper home runs. Far too long they have been playing guys with insanely high K rates because of their power rating. It just doesn’t make sense and you would think they might figure it out eventually. I’ll never forget how Joe Randa who could just simply square up a baseball, hit a crazy number of home runs in half a season.

  13. burtgummer01

    The Rays are a small market team yet they put a good team out there almost every year
    Don’t blame the lack of a salary cap blame ownership and the inept front office

    • Frankie Tomatoes

      The Rays had a losing record every year from 2014-2017. They’ve been really good in the three years since.

      Citing the one team that doesn’t spend and wins a lot though isn’t the evidence, it’s the outlier. Study after study shows a strong correlation to payroll and consistent winning in MLB.

      • Corey D

        Love to see those studies. Might be interesting.

  14. John C.

    Although a salary cap would be nice, the real problem is the lack of true revenue sharing. The local TV contracts are the real separation. If the Reds had the Dodger contract, they could be competitive too. I completely understand why the Reds can’t play with the big boys. Might as well lose and hope you draft better. In 10 years, look out.

    • Michael Smith

      @John C

      Nailed it. This is what separates the NFL from MLB. Yes some teams have more revenue coming in from stadium etc… but the TV revenue is king and it is run and negotiated from the top, not by individual teams.

  15. JB

    40 and 45 million his first 2 years. As great as he was I’m glad the Reds arent paying that. That’s a lot of dough to pitch every 5th day. Cant see him opting out after the first year. Who will pay him more than 45 mil?

  16. Kevin Patrick

    Alert… not a complain post…. I think the ship has sailed on acquiring a difference making shortstop. With that said, I’ve been thinking the possibility of acquiring one near the trade deadline might not be out of the question if the Reds are close to contention by the trade deadline. So how do the Reds stay close to contention? I think a guy like Odorizzi would round out the rotation rather nicely and free up arms for the pen. I also thought Tyler Thornburg looked pretty good last year when playing. I would add him for depth as well on a minor league contract if possible…and as much as I hate myself for typing this… I wonder if a veteran right hander to spell Votto against lefties… a guy like (gasp) Ryan Braun would be an affordable way to add punch. (one year only). Should the Reds drift back in the pack, it wouldn’t be too late to deal valuable players and get something in return. And yet, if the Reds found themselves a game or two in first at the All Star Break, I think a guy like Story might be more attainable. Again, I think the chances of any of these players mentioned above making a difference would be greater than the addition of a guy like Dee Gordon. So, if the Reds add about 20 million this year, I still like their position to make some noise.

    • Eric the Red

      I would rather lose every game than have Ryan Braun wearing our uniform. What he did and how he did it mean he should have been banned for life. And he’s never apologized adequately to earn himself a second chance.

      • Kevin Patrick

        sigh… i guess i have to agree.

  17. MBS

    Just read Villar is being signed to a minor league deal with the Reds. Didn’t see it on MLBTR yet. Hopefully it’s true

    • Kevin Patrick

      Yeah… minor league deal? I’d take that.

    • CI3J

      Villar on a minor league deal could be a steal. He’s put up decent numbers, but like a lot of players, had a pretty bad 2020. But if he reverts back to 2019 form, and since he’s in his prime years, there’s every reason to expect he could, the Reds could have a Brandon Phillips clone on their hands for the next few seasons, and a real leadoff option.

      Honestly, I like this more than I would have like a Didi signing. Cost-effective, but a very real chance for a high ceiling with a relatively high floor.

      • BK

        His 2019 production would be a really good fit for the Reds as he would bring much needed speed and decent OBP to the lineup.

  18. Scott C

    No problem, we signed Doolittle and the two Perez’s

  19. west larry

    Villar set to sign with the reds. They really need a shortstop, any shortstop.

    • Scott C

      Villar has been a subpar defender throughout his career.

      • BK

        True, but he’s pretty close to average, just a shade below. Taking an overall look at his career, his best years have come when he played every day. Looks like an upgrade over our current options and a bridge to Garcia in 2022.

  20. JoshG

    Yeah, I am perfectly fine with Villar at short for a year. Will add some energy

  21. Michael Carey

    Bauer really did the Reds a solid here. He wants to go season to season, but if he signed for less than 50 Mil, the Reds would only get a Comp Balance B pick. This way the Reds get their Comp A pick, and Bauer can still opt out for next year.

    If he wasn’t going to sign with us, he did the next best thing.