Below is a list of the latest news and rumors surrounding the star pitcher, who turns 30 on Jan. 17. Bauer
What is Bauer looking for in free agency?
Jan. 10: Being the top pitcher on the free-agent market generates a lot of buzz, and Bauer wanted to address what are important factors in his upcoming free agency decision and what aren’t. He did so in his latest vlog post, outlining what will drive his thinking. By far, the word he repeated the most in the video was “partnership.”
“I want it to be a partnership, first and foremost,” Bauer said. “That’s how I’m approaching this whole process and this whole decision. I want this to be a partnership with the team I choose.”
We’ve all had enough of fake news. Get yourself the real news about what I’m looking for in free agency here!https://t.co/enF9hXBfIi
— Trevor Bauer (@BauerOutage) January 11, 2021
Bauer went on to say that some of the factors that aren’t so important to him include geography and a club’s market size. He said that among the important factors beyond the overall partnership theme include being free to use his own data-driven training methods and programs, discussing the possibility of him pitching every fourth day, and being allowed to continue his ventures off the field, including his Momentum brand that features video content and other multimedia communication with fans.
On the field, Bauer said it’s important to be on a club that has championship aspirations, citing his previous experience helping Cleveland reach the Fall Classic in 2016. He emphasized reaching and winning the World Series, not just the postseason.
With Cleveland trading Lindor and Carrasco, is it time for White Sox to ink Bauer?
Jan. 8: With the news of the blockbuster trade that sent Francisco Lindor and Carlos Carrasco to the Mets from Cleveland on Thursday, Trevor Bauer’s agent, Rachel Luba, posted a few tweets implying the White Sox are now in position to make a big move, as it’s clearly become a two-team race with the Twins in the AL Central.
— Rachel Luba (@AgentRachelLuba) January 7, 2021
While Bauer hasn’t been connected to the White Sox in any rumors so far this offseason, it’s an intriguing possibility given what Chicago’s rotation already looks like. And with a powerful lineup that includes reigning AL MVP José Abreu, adding Bauer could be a finishing touch to an offseason portending a deep October run in’ 21. After all, the rotation on the South Side already features Lucas Giolito, Dallas Keuchel and recently-acquired right-hander Lance Lynn.
It’s all theoretical at this point, but it’s fun to think about. And as NBC Sports Chicago’s Vinnie Duber points out, “the relative affordability of the Lynn and Adam Eaton acquisitions could have the White Sox in position to pursue another addition,” which would form what he calls a “super rotation.”
Bauer, wearing Mets cap, talks big moves
Jan. 7: In his latest offseason vlog, Bauer wears a Mets cap and has praise for his former teammates with Cleveland, Francisco Lindor and Carlos Carrasco, who are headed to New York. The Mets have been rumored to be in the mix for pretty much every top-tier free agent this offseason, though it’s unclear whether their interest in Bauer will wane as a result of acquiring Carrasco.
In any event, Bauer is certainly a fan of the moves, wearing the interlocked NY in blue and orange.
“What a big blockbuster trade,” Bauer said. “Lindor is obviously one of the biggest-name shortstops, perhaps the best shortstop in baseball, definitely up there in that conversation, and Carrasco doesn’t get very much attention for his performance on the field, but he’s consistently been one of the best pitchers in the league. He’s good for a mid-3 ERA basically every single year, and will be in Cy Young contention certain years.”
Bauer went on to recollect some fond memories with the two former teammates, lauding Lindor’s leadership qualities and hunger to win, and Carrasco’s great personality, humility and competitive nature.
Will Bauer reunite with them in 2021? It remains to be seen, but what a splash it would be if the Mets ink him, too.
Mets likely out on Bauer?
Jan. 7: While Thursday’s blockbuster trade for Francisco Lindor and Carlos Carrasco doesn’t necessarily mean the Mets won’t make another big addition this offseason, it’s become far more unlikely that the club will pivot to Bauer.
The trade seems to have piqued the right-hander’s interest, as he sent out a tweet with one word — “Interesting” — shortly after the deal sending his former Cleveland teammates to New York was announced.
— Trevor Bauer (@BauerOutage) January 7, 2021
But with Jacob deGrom, Marcus Stroman, Noah Syndergaard, David Peterson, Steven Matz, Seth Lugo and Carrasco in the fold, Bauer may be deemed an unnecessary expenditure for a club that has other needs and is now roughly $32 million away from the $210 million Competitive Balance Tax threshold, according to a projection from FanGraphs’ Roster Resource.
The reigning National League Cy Young Award winner was already a secondary target for the club, per SNY’s Andy Martino, who wrote last week that “there has been no evidence of a serious pursuit of Bauer to date.”
Agent: Bauer will provide free agency update on YouTube
Jan. 5: No, it wasn’t definitive news. But for those anxious to know where Bauer will sign, his agent, Rachel Luba, hinted in a tweet Tuesday night that the star pitcher will be hopping on his YouTube channel over the coming days to describe his decision process.
— Rachel Luba (@AgentRachelLuba) January 6, 2021
While Luba provided few details, she did give a little insight into what might be a unique pitch process for teams when it comes to Bauer, who has long been vocal about the hands-on methods in which he analyzes and designs his pitches — and how he wants clubs to encourage their players to do the same.
“So far we and Trevor have spoken to a number of teams,” wrote Luba, “and Trevor is encouraged to hear so many teams and coaches talk about all the data and technology they’re using to help players develop, as pushing that part of the game forward has been an important goal of his throughout his career.”
Also included toward the end of Luba’s post: another hint that Bauer might have moved on from his previous stance of only signing one-year deals in free agency. Indeed, it sounds like Bauer could be carrying an open mind toward any type of contract, whether it be a loaded short-term deal or lucrative long-term pact.
“He’s considering a number of different types of contracts and structures,” Luba wrote.
Could Darvish trade negatively impact Bauer’s market?
Jan. 3: Bauer remains the Hot Stove’s top starting-pitcher prize, but did his market value take a hit from Yu Darvish’s trade to the Padres?
ESPN’s Buster Olney ponders that question in his Sunday column (subscription required), noting that the Cubs just dangled the NL Cy Young Award runner-up on the trade market and could only bring back a package of prospects that likely won’t make any Major League impact for years to come. Despite Darvish’s obvious talent and relatively affordable contract, none of the prospects that Chicago received in exchange ranked near the top of the Padres’ vaunted farm system.
Darvish is significantly older than Bauer and carries more injury history stemming from his 2015 Tommy John surgery. But Olney wonders if the underwhelming return for Darvish portends fewer free-agent dollars than what Bauer seeks.
Bauer says he loves SD, had a call scheduled with Jays
Dec. 31: Bauer checked in with a New Year’s Eve video on the road from San Diego, in which he showed the viewers the California sunset and said he loves the area, adding that it’s “beautiful,” “relaxed” and “scenic.” He also threw in a teaser for Padres fans, adding that he “could spend time in San Diego, for sure.” The reigning NL Cy Young Award winner also said he had a call with the Blue Jays scheduled for 6 p.m. PT, in which he was looking forward to speaking with Toronto’s pitching coach and high performance coach.
With the Padres wheeling and dealing this offseason, it’s not far-fetched to wonder whether San Diego will still try to land Bauer even after trading for the man who finished second to him in 2020 NL Cy Young Award voting, Yu Darvish. The Blue Jays’ offseason hasn’t been as eventful as San Diego’s, but Toronto has still been busy, signing left-hander Robbie Ray in early November and having reportedly been engaged with multiple high-profile free agents.
— Trevor Bauer (@BauerOutage) December 31, 2020
After Padres’ trades, Angels have limited options to add ace
Dec. 31: Arguably no team needs an ace more than the Angels, who have made the postseason only once in Mike Trout’s career, largely due to pitching problems. The Halos were in on Gerrit Cole last offseason but fell short, as Cole signed a nine-year, $324 million contract with the Yankees.
Although the free-agent market has been stagnant so far, the Angels’ options to add a top-level starter have dwindled, with the White Sox acquiring Lance Lynn from the Rangers and the Padres picking up Blake Snell from the Rays and Yu Darvish from the Cubs.
Reds starters Sonny Gray and Luis Castillo are reportedly available, but Cincinnati is surely seeking a sizable haul for both hurlers, and the Angels have one of the thinner farm systems in MLB.
As a result, the Angels remain the most likely fit for Bauer, who would fill their most glaring hole without requiring them to surrender any prospects (though they would have to give up a Draft pick after the 29-year-old rejected the Reds’ qualifying offer).
After ranking second to last in rotation ERA (5.52) last season and watching Shohei Ohtani suffer another arm injury, the club could opt to spread out its resources on multiple second-tier hurlers such as Jake Odorizzi or Masahiro Tanaka. However, shopping in the middle of the market hasn’t worked so well for the Angels recently, with one-year deals for Trevor Cahill ($9 million in 2019), Matt Harvey ($11 million in ’19) and Julio Teheran ($9 million in ’20) yielding poor results.
Will Bauer give Padres rotation for the ages?
Dec. 28: Blake Snell, Yu Darvish, Dinelson Lamet … and Bauer? That would be a starting rotation for the ages in San Diego. But could it happen?
Bauer is taking pitches. In a video posted to his YouTube channel Monday night — just as the Padres were completing their dual blockbuster trades for Snell and Darvish — Bauer gave one lucky Padres fan the chance to convince him why he should sign there.
— Trevor Bauer (@BauerOutage) December 29, 2020
In the video, Bauer — wearing a Padres cap, of course — asks Friars fan Bobby to describe the team’s fans in three words. Bobby’s choices: faithful, hungry, passionate.
“Faithful, hungry and passionate — sounds like a pretty food fanbase to play in front of,” Bauer replies.
If the Padres did end up signing Bauer, they’d have three of the top four NL Cy Young Award finishers from 2020. Bauer is the reigning Cy Young Award winner, Darvish was the runner-up, and San Diego’s homegrown ace Dinelson Lamet finished fourth. They’d also have the 2018 AL Cy Young Award winner in Snell.
That would make the Padres an early favorite to claim the title of best rotation in baseball in 2021, as they push to challenge the Dodgers for the NL West title.