Cubs Offseason Targets: Trevor Bauer
Trevor Bauer figures to be a big prize on the free agent market this offseason. With a Cy Young worthy 2020 and several 3 WAR seasons, he appears to be a stable top of the rotation arm who'd figure into any team's rotation. With his amazing agent Rachel Luba, he's projected to get an average annual value of $21 million (per Spottrac).
Here's a quick look at his numbers:
After working through some early control issues, he's taken some big steps forward. a sub 3.00 ERA two out of three years is juicy. There's been some inconsistency, but Spottrac has him projected to make $21 million next year. If Bauer is available on a 5 year $100 million dollar deal, should the Cubs front office take the plunge? There's a lot of money coming off the books.
Someone of us want him in Chicago. So much so, that we decided to put together a video sales pitch to lure him here.
I want him. If you watch any of his fantastic YouTube channel, he understands the physics of pitching. Tommy Hottovy and the pitch lab have gotten a lot out of arms in the past. I think pairing Bauer with the Cubs could unlock some of that consistency he's lacked year to year. Plus, the Cubs have severe rotational depth issues after Darvish and Hendricks. They need someone who can start game 3 of a playoff series. Bauer figures to be affordable enough, have high enough upside, and should age well enough to justify a 5 year $100 million deal.
Despite whatever questionable personality issues he occasionally exhibits, I think that he'd be welcome in Chicago. Between his YouTube, Twitter interactions, charitable efforts and just overall availability to the fans, I think he's an excellent ambassador of the game, helping make new fans each day. I'd love to see him get into a big market so those efforts are displayed more nationwide. He's not perfect, but every other player in all of baseball has something to learn from Bauer's constant multilayered approach to baseball fans.
I'll pass. Yes, he had great numbers in 2020, but I'm honestly not sure I buy them, especially after all his ranting about the Astros' spin rate and him accusing them of cheating. Now his spin rate suddenly takes a sharp uptick? I'm not saying he cheated this season to prove a point, but his trolling tendencies certainly wouldn't leave me gobsmacked if he came out and admitted that he did something to the ball to show that the Astros have some secret sauce. Speaking of trolling, he's also way too online for me. If he was speaking out about causes or even voicing his political views, whether conservative or liberal, I'd be cool with it. But he has a history of trolling and provoking fans that just doesn't sit well with me, and it's more immature and distracting than anything. It's a shame, too, because I think there's a smart dude under all that attention seeking. He just needs to harness it instead of poking everyone with a hot poker all the time. I think the Cubs can find what they need for the rotation elsewhere, especially if they're looking to spend in free agency, and find it in a less distracting package.
The front office have developed a Cubs culture over the last 5 years that I just don't see Bauer as somebody who fits into that culture. (Sure, they picked up Chapman as a rental, but we won the World Series, remember?) Plus I don't think we have the payroll flexibility for what he would command. Pass.
AssMatt: I like Bauer a lot. His offseason video series was EXCELLENT. Doing Live At-Bats during the early Covid shutdown was a game changer for me. I don't think he's nearly the d-bag that most people think he is, but I understand why they think that. He really needs to say less things most of the time. But back to the Live At-bats, it really showed his personality and that's actually kind of funny. Problem is that he's going to cost a lot of money and be a potential distraction for a team that can't really afford them right now (IMO). It's a reluctant pass for me.