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Elephant Rumblings: Dodgers sign Trevor Bauer to record-setting contract

MLB news roundup

Wild Card Round - Cincinnati Reds v Atlanta Braves - Game One Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

Good morning afternoon evening, Athletics Nation!

The top free agent of the MLB offseason is finally off the board. The Los Angeles Dodgers signed 2020 Cy Young winner Trevor Bauer to a three-year, $102 million contract, reports insider Mark Feinsand.

That’s not an especially large total deal relative to other superstars, but Bauer will set records for highest single-year salary. In 2021 he’ll get $40 million, the biggest payday in history, and then in 2022 he’ll see a raise to $45 million. He has opt-outs after each of those first two years, and if he sticks around for the third year he’ll get another $17 million (presumably, based on math). Because of that potential discounted season at the end, the overall pact doesn’t technically eclipse Gerrit Cole’s historic annual value ($36m vs. $34m).

Bauer won the NL Cy Young for the Cincinnati Reds last season, with a 1.73 ERA and 2.88 FIP in 11 starts, and in 2018 he finished sixth for the AL award as a member of the Cleveland Indians. At age 30, he’s one of the top pitchers in the game right now, and he had publicly expressed a desire for a short-term deal with an especially high salary playing for a title contender.

The right-hander checked all those boxes and more with the Dodgers, as he joins an absurd starting rotation on the defending World Series champion, and in his hometown of Los Angeles. His teammates now include Clayton Kershaw, David Price, Walker Buehler, Julio Urias, Dustin May, and Tony Gonsolin, making him the third Cy winner in the group.

The New York Mets also made a push for Bauer and even offered him more money, and at one point there were reports that they’d signed him. However, “going home to SoCal, defending champs, modern/cutting edge pitching shop won out,” reports Joel Sherman of the NY Post.

Good luck to the rest of the NL West!

Bauer released the following video announcement on YouTube (note how he trolls the Mets just past the one-minute mark):

A’s Coverage

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Another of the top free agents comes off the board. He’s entering his 30s and has been an inconsistent hitter in the past, but he can slide to the DH spot if and when the NL adopts it (presumably sooner than later).

Feel like this would have been another good A’s target

Or at least this?

AL West rival adds a pitcher

Backloaded contracts are becoming an obvious trend this winter (with Bauer as a notable exception)

Best of Twitter

Good news!

Interesting development for a prospect who isn’t yet on the radar

At this point, why not?

Wait but seriously this time, why not?

Regarding Bauer’s $40+ million salary

... Saying the same thing in a different way