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Trevor Bauer may want a record contract, but he is not certain to get one.
Reigning NL Cy Young Award winner Trevor Bauer believes he has done enough to earn a record-setting contract, topping the $36 million in average annual value his UCLA college teammate Gerrit Cole inked with the New York Yankees this past offseason.
Bauer may have claims statistically that Cole and Stephen Strasburg of the Washington Nationals do not have when they landed their massive contract. Neither has won a Cy Young like Bauer has. However, he did so in a 60-game, coronavirus-shortened season. Bauer is nowhere near as injury-prone as them, but he is a bit of a free spirit that moves to a beat of a different drum than most.
Frankly, no starting pitcher is worth that much in average annual value
Bauer is the type of pitcher who will toe the rubber every fifth day and has no issues pitching on short rest in the postseason. He is the bona-fide ace any contending club can build a rotation around. However, Bauer is rapidly approaching 30-years-old. These massive deals going out to guys who pitch once, maybe twice a week if they are lucky, is not the best use of available salary.
Ultimately, the market may not demand Bauer be the highest-paid pitcher on a new contract. If he wants to set a record in average annual value, a shorter-term deal with player options built-in like Strasburg’s was is the way to go. Because it is not a no-brainer to give Bauer a record-setting deal means he is not likely to land one. While he will get paid, it may not eclipse Cole’s 2020 mark.
Look for Bauer to continue to prove his doubters every time he takes the mound in the MLB.