JAN. 22, 9:24pm: The Twins are not in the race after all, Rosenthal reports.
8:39pm: The Mets’ interest in Bauer “has become more focused” since the Blue Jays agreed to sign Springer, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. The Jays are “believed” to still be in the running, however, and the same goes for the Dodgers and Twins. There’s no word on whether the Angels remain a possibility.
JAN. 21: It’s “believed” that the Mets and Angels have the best chance to land Bauer, per Feinsand. Meanwhile, despite the interest the Dodgers have shown in Bauer, it “still feels like a long shot to most industry sources” that he will end up with them, Feinsand writes.
JAN. 20: It appears the Dodgers have entered the market for top free agent hurler Trevor Bauer. ESPN.com’s Jeff Passan connected the two sides (Twitter link), with Jon Heyman of MLB Network (Twitter link) adding further detail to the situation.
At the moment, all that’s known is that the L.A. ballclub has initiated contact with Bauer’s camp and that the team’s interest is in a shorter-term pact. Both of those nuggets of information fail to surprise.
It has long felt inevitable that we’d see a connection between the SoCal native and the reigning world champs. Indeed, that’s just the outcome MLBTR prognosticated would ultimately come to fruition. Among other things, Bauer has expressed an inclination to pursue shorter-term, higher-AAV contract scenarios of the sort that the Dodgers have dangled to other premium players.
That’s not to say Bauer is sure to wear Dodger blue. The other team in Los Angeles remains a factor, among quite a few others. With some truly astronomical sums potentially in play, anything could still happen.
Bauer’s willingness to entertain creative offers also helps keep the door open to a variety of organizations. It may well be possible to make a competitive pitch without committing to an uncomfortably long guarantee.
For instance, the Blue Jays have already taken on a lengthy deal this winter by signing George Springer, perhaps reducing their appetite for another. But the Toronto organization may yet attempt to lure Bauer, MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand notes on Twitter. Whether or not that potential effort would be based around a shorter term isn’t clear, but it’s certainly one potential avenue.
The Springer contract has surely buoyed Bauer’s own hopes for a monster deal — whether he chooses to maximize total guarantee or his annual salary. Amid so much uncertainty, a hefty $150MM pact makes clear that teams still have serious money to commit to payroll when they so choose.