Although it remains unclear what type of contract Bauer is seeking, the expectation is that the contract will be high AAV. Jon Heyman of MLB Network reported that Bauer is seeking a 5-6 year deal with up to $40 million AAV. This demands a contract that could exceed the $200 million mark, which is essentially a shorter Gerrit Cole contract. Although Bauer quickly retorted, denying the report’s accuracy, paying Bauer record-breaking AAV over a 6 year stretch is ridiculous and severely overpaying what he’s actually worth.
For comparison, Jacob deGrom agreed to a five-year, $137 million contract extension with the Mets in 2019. His two Cy Young awards and 2.61 career ERA netted him far less than what Bauer is reportedly demanding, both in total value and annual value. Bauer’s demands are those of a top 5 pitcher, which Bauer isn’t. If the starting point in negotiations is $180 million, the Angels should steer clear and never look back. Even at just 5 years, it is a type of contract that could age very poorly and end with the Angels looking to get rid of the salary.
The Angels should by no means get in a searing bidding war for Bauer and should instead have lax demands for him. Bauer will be expensive and negotiations only go up in price. Plus, that money can easily be spread around to address the multiple holes in the Angels roster. Bauer is a good pitcher, but isn’t worth the entire payroll and the Angels should avoid paying him.