What is going on. Every rumor morsel over the past 24 hours, including literal announcements of a done deal by some in the media, as well as seemingly inadvertent changes to Trevor Bauer’s website, indicated that Bauer was going to the Mets. It was clearly happening.
And then Jon Heyman just tweeted this:
Bauer to Dodgers
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) February 5, 2021
And now we’re scrambling to figure out what happened, and, more importantly, the implications of Bauer totally not going where anyone really expected.
Bauer, 30, is coming off a grip-assisted Cy Young shortened season, his second excellent season in the last three years. Outside of 2020 and 2018, however, Bauer had been roughly a league average pitcher. He’s probably something in between, but the hype attached to his free agency had more to do with the market, his online persona, and the involvement of major market teams. This is a good addition to the Dodgers rotation, but it’s probably not reasonable to say that they just picked up another “ace.”
I will be very curious to find out what kind of deal he’s getting, and what he turned down (at the last minute?) from the Mets.
Meanwhile, with the Dodgers already spending luxuriously in 2021, does this mean they will now put the foot down to make sure they cover third base with a Justin Turner reunion or a Kris Bryant-type trade? Seems unlikely they’d leave a hole there after spending big on Bauer to make a push at repeating as World Series champions.
The NL West is just stacked at the top now, with possibly the two best teams in the National League.
UPDATE: Bauer confirms with an announcement video that culminates in him wearing a Dodgers jersey.
UPDATE 2: Forget the phrasing – this means it’s a one year-deal with a couple player options:
Trevor Bauer and the Los Angeles Dodgers are in agreement on a three-year deal that has opt-outs after Years 1 and 2, sources tell ESPN.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) February 5, 2021
UPDATE 3: And Bauer gets to say he’s the highest-paid player in baseball history (hey, he wanted it and he got it – can’t rip him for that):
Trevor Bauer gets $102M for 3 years from Dodgers, per source. He has opt outs after each of the first two years; $40M in 2021, $45M in 2022. He'll be the highest-paid player in MLB history in '21, then again in '22. Good job by @AgentRachelLuba & Jon Fetterolf of @zssports_law.
— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) February 5, 2021
The Dodgers have the most financial muscle in the sport, right there with the Yankees, and they are flexing it. It’s really a stunning contract for Bauer, who probably couldn’t have gotten THAT much more guaranteed on a deal of five years or longer. Any chance this sets a new model for contracts, with teams that don’t want to commit long-term (and thus have more trouble resetting their luxury tax penalties (sigh))? The Dodgers have reportedly been trying to do these types of deals for a while now with top free agents, but couldn’t get anyone to bite.
UPDATE 4: Not sure how they could actually do it, but man, the Cubs should try to get Tony Gonsolin or Dustin May from the Dodgers now, ASAP.