Trevor Bauer will be one of the top free-agent pitchers this winter, and the Los Angeles Angels figure to be a prominent bidder for his services.
While many Angels fans were tuned in to watch their team pull within 2.5 games of the Houston Astros with three games to play, others had their sights set on another game 2100 miles away in Cincinnati. On the mound in that contest, none other than Trevor Bauer.
Pitching on three days rest and trying to will his team to hold on to the final playoff spot in the National League, Bauer took to the hill and tossed eight innings of four-hit baseball, allowing one run and one walk, while striking out 12. His character on full display, Angels fans ate it up and responded immediately on Twitter following the game.
One such tweet came from writer Gary Sheffield Jr. of Outkick, who immediately began to put together what he thought was a fair offer for the would-be free agent pitcher.
While a $28.3 million per annum deal for the top free-agent arm on the market may sound like a good deal, it apparently wasn’t enough to get Bauer’s agent on board, as she responded in kind.
Given the power of his performance in 2020, Bauer stands to make a lot of money on the open market, so his price tag is undoubtedly going to be a bit higher than the proposed deal above. With eight pitchers currently raking in more than $30 million per year, Bauer’s likely got his sights set near the top of that market, and given his animosity toward the Houston Astros and Gerrit Cole, will likely look to top Cole’s $37.67 million yearly take home.
While Bauer arguably doesn’t offer the consistency of Cole over the course of his career, he does offer something that Cole didn’t; flexibility.
Bauer has been outspoken in regards to his desire to bet on himself and go year-to-year in free agency, only agreeing to one-year deals that maximize his earning potential. This could potentially allow a team like the Angels to pursue a pitcher like Bauer without having to handcuff themselves to a bad contract should things not work out.
With that in mind, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Bauer pursue a deal close to or over the $40 million per season mark. He has the power of demand, as the market will be tight when it comes to top of the rotation arms, and he’s likely to be coming off of a season where he took home the Cy Young award.
Bauer has been outstanding in 2020. He owns an extraordinary 1.73 ERA, a 2.87 FIP, a 12.33 K/9, and a career-best 2.10 BB/9. However, it is his peripheral stats that shine the most, with his 90.9% strand-rate, his 25.3% hard-hit rate, and his 30.4% whiff-rate all standing out.
The only potential thing working against Bauer this winter is the uncertain financial picture of the game. However, the overall lack of pitching across the game in 2020 should help negate some of that effect on his market.
While the Angels have missed on big-name pitchers over the past few seasons, Arte Moreno has the motivation to land a big fish and give this team a playoff appearance in 2021. Bauer’s potential desire to accept a one-year, high-dollar deal also helps the Angels, as they can bring in the right-hander at peak value in 2021, and then stand to spend more next winter when Pujols’ deal comes off the books.
When all is said and done, the Angels should hold nothing back from bringing Trevor Bauer and his huge personality to Anaheim this winter.