Trevor Bauer is without a doubt the most talked about Free Agent of the 2021 offseason, and it’s barely started. Especially after having the best year in his career and walking away with his first Cy Young. So who will land the most coveted player of the Hot Stove?
- Recent Rumors
- His Career
- His Worth
- His Preferences
- His Projected Future
MLB Hot Stove Rumors
- Bauer has yet to cut any teams from consideration yet. He’s even still open to staying with the Reds.
- Stroman and Gausman both accepted their qualifying offers increasing the gap between Bauer and the next best pitcher.
- Bauer has been told to consider New York in particular. He has hinted that he would sign with the Mets before the Yankees.
- He’s estimated to sign for around 4 years, $128 million by MLB Trade Rumors
- Teams most in the running
- Blue Jays
Bauer just finished his 9th MLB season and it was a doozy. He finished with a 1.73 ERA, 0.79 WHIP, and 100 K’s in 73 IP. His Career ERA is now 3.90 with a 1.26 WHIP and 1279 SO in 1190 IP
But Bauer didn’t have an ERA under 4 until his 7th season. (5th full season). Then in 2018 at the Agee of 27 Bauer was an all star, 6th in Cy Young, and even 22nd in MVP voting after going 12-6 with a 2.21 ERA. He also dominated batters with 221 strikeouts in 175.1 IP.
Unfortunately for him, he regressed dramatically in ’19 to a 4.48 ERA again in 34 starts between the Indians and the Reds. And then of course, we’re all well aware of his bounceback Cy Young campaign this last season.
However we want to make a point of mentioning who he pitched against in his 11 games last year.
- Brewers – 3 games
- (6 earned runs given up)
- 24th in OPS
- Tigers – 2 games
- (1 earned run)
- 25th in OPS
- Pirates – 2 games
- (5 runs, 2 earned)
- 30th in OPS
- Cubs – 2 games
- (3 earned runs)
- 21st in OPS
- White Sox – 1 game
- (2 earned runs)
- 8th in OPS
- Royals – 1 game
- (0 earned runs)
- 20th in OPS
So 8 out of his 11 starts were against teams that finished the year under .500. And in the 3 games his opponents were over .500 he gave up 5 of his 14 earned runs on the year. 27% of his games, 36% of the damage done against him.
And beyond that, the worst he had to face were the White Sox who were arguably the 8th best offense in baseball this year. Beyond that, he never saw a team that wasn’t in the bottom 33% in offense. (Bottom 10 teams)
We will still give him though that he pitched to the tune of a 2.25 ERA against .500 teams still. But he had an ERA of 1.59 against the under .500 teams.
But, we’re not back on the Trevor Bauer is elite train just yet. He’s 2 for 3 in his last 3 seasons. If he can be elite next year and show up for 3 out of 4 seasons, we’ll agree that he’s found his best self. But it makes his FA this year, very interesting as far as how much teams will pay.
Calculating His Worth
First thing you need to know is the going rate for 1 WAR (Win Above Replacement). Or in other words, how much an extra win over an average replacement costs in the Free Agent market. And right now that rate is about $8 Million per 1 WAR.
Over his career, Bauer has averaged roughly 2.6 WAR per full season. But he has been under that more often that not. He’s only passed that number in 3 of his seasons. (2.9 in 2017, 5.8 in 2018, and 2.7 in 2020)
He has shown two versions of himself in his career. The low 2’s ERA pitcher worth almost 6 WAR a year, and the guy who throws in the mid 4’s and only produces about 2 WAR over a 162 game season.
So theoretically, if Bauer is at his best for the next 5 years, he can produced up to 30 extra wins for a team. At market value that’s worth $240 million. but on the other end, his career says he’s more like to produce about 10 extra wins over that time. A value of about $80 million.
Realistically, meeting in the middle may be the best hope for Bauer and teams to reach a longer term deal. We would be offering Bauer around 5 years for $160 million with whatever little perks he wants. (i.e. opt-outs, option years, etc.)
But that is still a risk of wasting almost $15 million of payroll a year if Bauer regresses back to his mean. No matter what, Bauer is, and has always been a player to watch.
Part of what has made Bauer such a Free Agent Phenom is that he’s been marketing it himself for years. Here’s what we know about his preferences.
- He’s willing to listen to all offers, including the Asian Leagues
- His agent is posting updates on Twitter
- He’s from California
- He has a bet with a childhood friend that he will only sign 1 year deals once he’s a free agent to maximize his salary
- He wants to be a big personality, and appreciated for that wherever he goes
So AKA, Bauer’s likely to sign in California or New York based on who offers him the best deal
Bauer’s Hopeful Future
It seems that almost every team has reported interest in Bauer. But this isn’t a surprise with him being the top arm on the market. But which Bauer will whatever team be buying?
He’ll also be 30 by the time next season starts. At best, he has a decade left of pitching. Realistically, he probably has about 5 more before his body seriously declines. He has his Cy Young now, but every player wants a ring. We doubt Bauer is any different and wants to play for a contender.
This is the big contract for Bauer. Like we mentioned earlier, he’s rumored to sign for about 4 years. And considering every top pitcher has been signing for at least $30 million a year, Bauer will likely have a big price tag to live up to.
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