For most of the offseason the defending World champion Los Angeles Dodgers had remained relatively quiet while other National League teams in hopes of dethroning them in 2021.
That all changed on Friday though as news got out that the Dodgers have agreed to a contract with the best free-agent starting pitcher on the market in reigning NL Cy Young Young Award winner Trevor Bauer.
Over the last week it had become apparent that the Dodgers and New York Mets were the final teams vying for Bauer’s services. Although it was unclear if the former would be able to match the latter’s offer.
It appears that the Mets still offered a little more, but ultimately, the chance to play for his hometown team while competing for a World Series was too much to pass up for Bauer. The Dodgers will also be compensating him very well though as according to Mark Feinsand of MLB.com, the three-year contract will make Bauer the highest-paid player in MLB history the next two seasons:
Trevor Bauer gets $102M for 3 years from Dodgers, per source. He has opt outs after each of the first two years; $40M in 2021, $45M in 2022. He'll be the highest-paid player in MLB history in '21, then again in '22. Good job by @AgentRachelLuba & Jon Fetterolf of @zssports_law.
— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) February 5, 2021
The addition of a contract of this magnitude will put the Dodgers well over the luxury tax threshold in 2021. They also will be losing a draft pick since Bauer was extended a qualifying offer by the Cincinnati Reds at the beginning of the offseason.
Despite all that, it seems the opportunity to add a third ace to a rotation that already features Clayton Kershaw and Walker Buehler was too much for president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman and the Dodgers to pass up.
But their rotation is now very crowded, so it will be interesting to see what further moves they make regarding David Price, Julio Urias, Dustin May and Tony Gonsolin.
The Dodgers’ 40-man roster is currently full, so they will have to make some sort of roster move before officially announcing Bauer’s signing.
As far as future spending goes, it remains to be seen how giving Bauer that much money will affect the team moving forward. Kershaw and Corey Seager are both set to hit free agency after this season and there is no doubt the Dodgers would like to keep them.
Buehler and Cody Bellinger will also have to be paid down the road, although they are under club control through the end of Bauer’s contract.
Buehler would welcome Bauer to L.A.
Before Bauer signed with the Dodgers, Buehler made it clear that he would gladly welcome him to the team’s rotation. The two are good friends and will now partner to form the best top-of-the-rotation in baseball.
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