Trevor Bauer will hit the free agent market as the best available starting pitcher, and these 5 teams should be atop his list of suitors.
Say what you will about Trevor Bauer and his personality, social media trolling, etc., but there’s no denying his talent level. After a rough 2019, including a 6.39 ERA over 10 starts for the Cincinnati Reds, he rebounded to lead the NL in ERA this year (1.73) with a 0.79 WHIP, a 12.3 K.9 and a 2.1 BB/9.
The Reds made the postseason for the first time since 2013, losing to the Atlanta Braves 2-0 in a Wild Card Series. Bauer pitched Game 1, and twirled 7.2 scoreless innings with 12 strikeouts as the Reds lost in extra innings.
Bauer had his best full season in 2018 with the Cleveland Indians, as he went 12-6 with a 2.21 ERA over 175.1 innings as he earned his first career All-Star nod and finished sixth in Cy Young voting. So 2019 looks like an anomaly, as Bauer is constantly self-evaluating to find the right course.
In February of 2019, Bauer was clear in his willingness to go year-to-year with his contracts to assure it’s a place he wants to pitch.
“Why would you lock yourself in a situation that may not make you happy? I think that’s highly inefficient. Everybody is afraid of risk. Everyone is scared,”
In September, Bauer backed off of that stance a bit.
“I’m not afraid of the one-year deals,” Bauer said. “I’m not afraid of the longer deals. It’s just going to be a case-by-case basis, and we’ll see what the situations look like.”
Bauer will not be for everyone, due to how he might be deemed to fit in and the money he’ll command regardless of a one-year or multi-year deal. But a lot of teams can make a case to pursue him.
Top 5 free agent destinations for Trevor Bauer
The Yankees can never be ruled out of big splashes in free agency, and with Masahiro Tanaka, James Paxton and J.A. Happ also set to hit free agency they will have rotation spots to fill. Gerrit Cole is the clear No. 1, but after that Luis Severino will be coming back from Tommy John surgery to add to the question marks looking toward next year.
Of course there is the notion that Cole and Bauer, college teammates at UCLA, aren’t exactly friends and how that would affect the Yankees’ interest. When it came up again recently, Bauer dismissed the feud as “fictitious” as he clearly keeps all his options open.
A shorter deal the likes of which Bauer may seek, after giving Cole a nine-year, $324 million deal last offseason, seems ideal for the Yankees. Bauer is surely not worried about pitching in a big market.