The World Series champion Los Angeles Dodgers made a splash Friday when they agreed to a deal with National League Cy Young Award winner and Southern California native Trevor Bauer.
Thirty-year-old Bauer, considered the top pitcher on the free agent market, posted a 1.73 ERA in 11 starts last year during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season with Cincinnati. He becomes part of an already stacked Dodgers starting rotation that helped the team win its first World Series title since 1988.
Citing a source, MLB.com reported that the deal is for three years and $102 million dollars, with opt-outs after the first two years. Bauer will earn $40 million in 2021 and $45 million in '22, according to the report.
His 2021 salary would make him the highest-paid player in MLB history.
Bauer’s decision reportedly came down to the Mets and Dodgers. His agent tweeted, “Down to 2” on Thursday in an apparent reference to Bauer’s choices.
The Dodgers have not made an official announcement, but Bauer tweeted a video of himself Friday wearing a Dodgers jersey.
Bauer went to Hart High School in Santa Clarita and played for UCLA.
He will slot in among ace Walker Buehler, three-time NL Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw and 2012 AL Cy Young winner David Price, who opted out last season because of the pandemic.
Bauer is 75-64 with a 3.90 ERA in nine major league seasons that included a career-best 17-9 with a 4.19 ERA for Cleveland in 2017. He was an All-Star the following year, going 12-6 with a 2.21 ERA.
Bauer was 5-4 in his second season with Cincinnati and his 1.73 ERA was second in the major leagues among qualified pitchers behind only Cleveland’s Shane Bieber at 1.63. Bauer earned $6,481,481 in prorated pay from a $17.5 million salary.
Arizona drafted Bauer with the third overall pick in the 2011 amateur draft. He made his big league debut with the Diamondbacks the following year and went 1-2 in four starts, then was traded to Cleveland in December 2012 with pitchers Matt Albers and Bryan Shaw as part of a three-team trade that brought shortstop Didi Gregorius and pitcher Tony Sipp to Arizona, outfielder Drew Stubbs to Cleveland and outfielder Shin-Soo Choo to Cincinnati.
He was traded to Cincinnati in July 2019 in another three-team deal, one that brought pitcher Logan Allen and outfielder Franmil Reyes to the Indians, and outfielder Yasiel Puig to the Indians.
Bauer has caused controversy on social media. A female college student claimed to USA Today in 2019 that Bauer harassed her on Twitter, accusing him on retweeting an old tweet of her referring to drinking alcohol before her 21st birthday. USA Today said that among 80 tweets of Bauer that mentioned her and 20 of her that mentioned the pitcher. Bauer tweeted the woman “was obsessed with me.”
He took after baseball owners for the sport’s economics last May during bargaining to start the pandemic-delayed season.
“There’s so many ways to hide the money,” he said, adding owners could reduce ticket prices and at the same time charge more for parking garages they control through different entities that do not benefit the club.
“If I’m going to have to trust my salary to Rob Manfred marketing the game to make more money for the game, I am out on that,” Bauer said. “Let me market the game and we’ll all make more money.”
Los Angeles’ other offseason moves include re-signing reliever Blake Treinen to a $17.5 million, two-year contract, and agreeing to a $4.75 million, two-year deal with reliever Tommy Kahnle, who is rehabbing from Tommy John surgery in August.
Because Bauer turned down an $18.9 million qualifying offer, Los Angeles will forfeit its second-highest pick in the July amateur draft and $500,000 of international signing bonus allocation.
Cincinnati will receive an extra draft pick after competitive balance round B, approximately No. 60, as compensation.