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Los Angeles Angels: Pass or pursue on 5 marquee free agents

CINCINNATI, OH - SEPTEMBER 14: Trevor Bauer #27 of the Cincinnati Reds pitches against the Pittsburgh Pirates during game one of a doubleheader at Great American Ball Park on September 14, 2020 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - SEPTEMBER 14: Trevor Bauer #27 of the Cincinnati Reds pitches against the Pittsburgh Pirates during game one of a doubleheader at Great American Ball Park on September 14, 2020 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
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Cincinnati Reds, Trevor Bauer (27) walks off the mound after recording the final out in the second inning of a baseball game against the Milwaukee Brewers, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2020, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati.Milwaukee Brewers At Cincinnati Reds Sept 23
Cincinnati Reds, Trevor Bauer (27) walks off the mound after recording the final out in the second inning of a baseball game against the Milwaukee Brewers, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2020, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati.Milwaukee Brewers At Cincinnati Reds Sept 23

Trevor Bauer

Trevor Bauer has become one of the most polarizing figures in professional sports. He rubs many people the wrong way, but his defenders believe he is what baseball needs in terms of his transparency. Whatever your thoughts are of Bauer, you have to admit that he can flat out pitch. Recently named the 2020 NL Cy Young winner, Bauer righted the ship after a rough 2019 second half with the Cincinnati Reds.

Bauer posted a 99th percentile expected earned run average (xERA) on the season, according to Baseball Savant. He struck out exactly 100 batters across 73 innings of work with a 1.73 ERA and 0.79 WHIP. He was absolutely tremendous and more than deserving of his Cy Young Award this season.

The right-hander from UCLA is likely going to get a ridiculous sum of money this offseason from a team that is desperate for starting pitching help. Oh wait…that’s the Angels! Despite Bauer notably betting with a friend that he would only take one-year deals for the entirety of his career, a multi-year deal seems to be the likeliest scenario for him.

Bauer could receive a deal in the four to five year range for upwards of $30 million per season. A deal of a similar average annual value to Gerrit Cole, but a lot shorter of a term makes sense. Bauer is the furthest thing from consistent, but he is also the closest thing to an ace on this year’s free agent market.

Verdict: Pursue (four years, $112 million)

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