Five Teams That Should Target Trevor Bauer

By: Alec Walt

The MLB offseason is moving at a snail’s pace and one of the best pitchers in the MLB is taking complete advantage of the attention it’s bringing him on social media. Trevor Bauer’s made made himself a popular follow on the internet by throwing a baseball over a center field wall, starting a podcast, and publicly calling out issues in the MLB. Now he’s using it to bait fans as he waits for a new contract. 

Bauer’s spent the last few months tweeting about multiple teams who need starting pitching. He won the 2020 National League Cy Young, so it’s not every offseason that one of the best starting pitchers in baseball is available on the open market. Many teams may be hesitant to match Bauer’s asking price after a COVID-19 shortened season, but there’s still a solid number of teams who are a starting pitcher away from a World Series run. Let’s take a look at some teams Bauer could play on next season.

5 – Toronto Blue Jays

The Toronto Blue Jays seem interested in everyone this offseason and Trevor Bauer shouldn’t be excluded from that list. They were aggressive in the starting pitching market last offseason signing 2020 AL Cy Young Candidate Hyun-Jun Ryu and acquired multiple starting pitchers at the trade deadline. It’s clear they’re looking to add pitching depth for 2021 and beyond.

The current Blue Jays roster has decent starting pitching depth heading into the New Year. Ryu returns at the top of the rotation, followed by Nate Pearson, Robbie Ray, Ross Stripling and Tanner Roark. This rotation can eat innings, but won’t take them far in the postseason. The expectation for the Blue Jays in 2021 is to take that next step towards contention. Bauer would turn the Blue Jays into immediate contenders. 

The only downside with signing with the Blue Jays is location. We still don’t know where their home ballpark in 2021 is. Signing with this club includes a lot of travel and life out of a hotel room. It’s not the best situation for free agents. 

Minus the travel, this Blue Jays team is loaded with young talent. Vlad Guerroro Jr, Bo Bichette and Cavan Biggio highlight one of the deepest lineups in the American League. With Charlie Morton leaving the Tampa Bay Rays, the time is now to take a top spot in the American League East. It’s only a matter of time until the Blue Jays sign someone.

4 – New York Yankees

The New York Yankees find themselves in a similar position to last offseason. They need to add starting pitching depth and have the finances to go after the top of the free agent market. Last offseason they broke the bank signing Gerrit Cole to a $324 million contract. This year they can go after his former college teammate without the long-term commitment. 

Trevor Bauer expressed interest in one-year contracts and that’s amazing news for the Yankees. They’re a team in win-now mode and key players like Aaron Judge, Gleyber Torres, Luke Voit and Gio Urshela remain on cheap contracts. Bauer would give the Yankees a second ace, the chance to contend in 2021, and no commitment long-term to another mega contract. This makes a ton of sense for Brian Cashman.

The Yankees enter the New Year in a down American League. The Chicago White Sox have definitely entered contention mode, but the Tampa Bay Rays, Minnesota Twins, Oakland Athletics, Cleveland Indians, and Houston Astros have all lost key players from the 2020 rosters. Signing a Bauer immediately puts the Yankees a class above the rest of the previous contenders in their own league. Don’t sleep on the Yankees in the Bauer race.

3 – San Diego Padres

The “Slam Diego” Padres 2020 season became a major turning point for the organization. They spent years acquiring young talent, signed a superstar free agent two years ago and we saw just the beginning of a potential powerhouse in the National League. Last season, unfortunately, didn’t end as hoped when starters Dinelsen Lamet and Mike Clevenger suffered injuries. They lost to the Dodgers in the NLDS and were at a clear pitching disadvantage.

Starting pitching remains a concern heading into the New Year. Lament is expected to return in 2021, but Clevinger had Tommy John Surgery and will miss the entire season. As the Padres monitor Lamet’s recovery, they need additional arms in the rotation. Chris Paddack and Zach Davies both return and MacKenzie Gore is expected to receive his call to the majors. There’s talent, but it could use another arm with questions at the top.

The Padres enter the New Year with a talented roster that’s one starting pitcher away from a World Series run. They need to take advantage of the years before they have to pay Fernando Tatis Jr.

2 – Los Angeles Angels

The Willie Mays of a generation has played his entire career with the Los Angeles Angels and he doesn’t have a playoff win on his resume. That needs to change.

Mike Trout enters his 11th MLB season in 2021 and the Angels have only made the playoffs once in his career. He turns 30 in August, so the Angels window isn’t getting any wider with Trout playing his best baseball. Trout is still going to remain in the elite class of baseball for a few more seasons, but the Angels can’t keep wasting his prime years. It’s time to put together a contender in Anaheim.

The Angels roster today is similar to what it’s been throughout Trout’s career. It’s deep with offensive talent, but weak at pitching. Pitching wins championships and it’s blatantly clear where Perry Minasian needs to improve this roster. The last few World Series Champions have included starters named Walker Buehler, Clayton Kershaw, Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, Chris Sale and David Price. There’s nothing close to that in Anaheim right now. Bauer is the Angels best option for landing an ace right now. 

If the Angels want to win during Trout’s best seasons, they need to solve this rotation as soon as possible. With Liam Hendriks expected to leave Oakland and George Springer in Houston, the Angels are in position to potentially advance in the American League West with an impact signing. Bauer’s a proven ace for a team that desperately needs one. The time is now for the Angels to make an impact move in the rotation.

1 – New York Mets

Steve Cohen has made the New York Mets the most interesting team in baseball this offseason. He’s now the richest owner in the league, convinced free agents to sign in New York, re-energized a tired fan base and made it clear he’s ready to build a winning organization. The Mets have made some solid moves earlier this offseason signing Marcus Stroman, Trevor May, and James McCann, but this team is still a move or two away from the elite of the National League. The starting pitching depth in Queens would be off the charts if Trevor Bauer decided to sign there.

Bauer won the 2020 National League Cy Young and would enter a rotation with the man who placed right behind him. Jacob deGrom and Bauer would give the Mets the best rotation duo in the league. The current depth behind deGrom is solid with Stroman, Noah Syndergaard and Justin Peterson, but the Mets need one more guy to round it out. Bauer provides elite depth and durability to a rotation that’s been inconsistent behind deGrom for years. 

The Mets enter the New Year on the cusp of contention mode. The Los Angeles Dodgers and Atlanta Braves remain the elite of the National League, and the Mets won’t reach that until they match their deep rotations. Stroman and Syndergaard’s return should boost the rotation, but Syndergaard struggled with injuries throughout his career. Bauer would secure the role at the top of the rotation, take pressure off depth starters returning from injury and provide quality matchups in the postseason. There’s no better free agent to sign in offseason number one of the Cohen era.

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