Trevor Bauer Blockbuster = Dodgers Dynasty

By Thursday, big-time baseball fans knew the Trevor Bauer sweepstakes had come down to two teams. Those two teams were the Los Angeles Dodgers and the New York Mets.

On Friday afternoon news began to percolate that Bauer had chosen the Dodgers. Bauer, perhaps the most social media-friendly player in the majors, produced a video on his YouTube channel announcing the move. 

The addition makes the Dodgers the overwhelming favorites to repeat as World Series champions. He’ll join a pitching staff that already includes Clayton Kershaw, David Price, Julio Urías, Dustin May, Kenley Jansen, and Blake Treinen among others. 

Bauer will receive $102 million over three years, with an opt-out after each of the first two years.

The Mets appeared to have a deal in place with Bauer earlier in the week but it fell through. It’s believed that he left a deal with a higher overall value on the table. 

The chance to return home (he was born in North Hollywood) and compete for a World Series proved too much to overcome.

Although the contract will make Bauer a rich man, it won’t come without pain.

Grand Archery

While Bauer is obviously the biggest name to change teams, he’s not the only one. You may remember, at the trade deadline in 2018, the Tampa Rays traded Chris Archer to the Pittsburgh Pirates. 

It’s known as one of the most lopsided trades in recent MLB history. The Rays received outfielder Austin Meadows, pitcher Tyler Glasnow and pitching prospect Shane Baz in exchange for Archer. 

Meadows was an All-Star in 2019, hitting .291 with 33 homers, 29 doubles, and 89 RBI. Glasnow was limited to 60.2 innings in 2019 but was terrific with a 6-1 record and a 1.78 ERA. Both players weren’t as effective during the truncated 2020 season, but the trade was a clear win for the Rays. 

Archer was good for the Pirates, but not great. He went 3-3 with a 4.30 ERA in ten starts for Pittsburgh in 2018. Then 3-9 with a 5.19 ERA in 2019 before opting out of the 2020 campaign. 

Archer returning to the place where he had his highest highs is adding insult to injury for the Pirates.

Cruz-ing Into His 40’s (and Perhaps Cooperstown)

Nelson Cruz has enjoyed a remarkable career revival following his age-32 season. From 2009 to 2013, his age-28 to age-32 seasons, Cruz hit 135 home runs for an average of 27 per season. 

In the six seasons since then, Cruz has hit 40, 44, 43, 39, 37 and 41 homers for an average of 40.6 per season. He had 16 in 53 games in 2020. 

Cruz’s power surge has seen his HR/season increase by more than 10 since his age-32 season.

One can’t help but wonder if this drastic power surge is a natural improvement or something more sinister. 

Obviously MLB is more vigilant about policing PED’s and the like and hopefully that era of baseball is squarely in our rear-view mirror.

Also, Cruz is sitting on 417 career home runs. A few more seasons like he’s had recently would put him over 500. He’s a six-time All-Star who has finished in the Top 10 in MVP voting five times so he’s got some legit Hall of Fame credentials.

Liria-no!

The Blue Jays looked to their past when addressing potential future rotation solutions. They signed left-handed pitcher Francisco Liriano to a one-year, minor-league deal. It includes an invitation to Spring Training. The 37-year-old had previously spent parts of the 2016 and 2017 seasons with Toronto.

I know it’s irrational of me to be upset by this move, but it’s just not enough right now. Theoretically, it’s the type of low-risk, high-reward move that should be commended but I’m not there yet.

Although he pitched well in his last season, 2019, he’s yet another lefty with his best days behind him. The Jays are still believed to be in on James Paxton and Jake Odorizzi.

There was some speculation that Toronto was interested in signing the veteran and nine-time All-Star, Yadier Molina. It now seems as though Yadier Molina will return to the St. Louis Cardinals.

Quick Pitches

  • The Cincinnati Reds agreed to terms with relief pitcher Sean Doolittle.
  • Infielder Kolten Wong joined the Milwaukee Brewers on a two-year, $18 million deal.
  • Alex Colome and the Minnesota Twins have agreed to a contract.
  • “King” Felix Hernandez has signed a minor-league deal with the Baltimore Orioles.
  • Veteran reliever Joakim Soria is now a member of the Arizona Diamondbacks.
  • The Los Angeles Angels have traded for outfielder Dexter Fowler.

Closing Time

While the Hot Stove season started off as blazing as the weather outside, it’s really heated up lately. The lack of moves early on has led to a recent flurry and it’s been fun to cover.

Marcell Ozuna was considered the top free agent available after the top four (D.J. Lemahieu, George Springer, Bauer, and J.T. Realmuto) and he finally signed last week.

Carlos Correa and the Houston Astros avoided arbitration with a one-year, $11.7 million contract. Correa hit just .264 with 5 HR and 25 RBI in 58 games last season.

Baseball is a much harder game to play when you don’t know what pitch is coming.

The Oakland Athletics and Texas Rangers made an interesting trade over the weekend.

I like this trade for both teams and I also really liked the Rangers’ next move of getting Mike Foltynewicz; great value.

The New York Mets have had a wonderful offseason despite missing out on Bauer. They’ve upgraded their catcher, shortstop, and bullpen and added a capable outfielder in Albert Almora Jr.

The Reds added veteran utility player Dee Strange-Gordon. Strange, I didn’t know he had changed his name.

Arms Race

I do think the Dodgers overpaid for Bauer, but the market was set. If you go back to his last full season, he went 11-13 with a 4.48 ERA, including 2-5, 6.39 ERA in 56.1 innings with the Reds. He’s really only had two great seasons; 2018 and 2020.

Projections have both the Dodgers and Padres winning at least 98 games next season. The Padres have had a great offseason, but until they beat the champs, they’re just the best second-place team in baseball.

Top 10 power rankings:

  1. Dodgers
  2. Padres
  3. Yankees
  4. ATL
  5. White Sox
  6. Rays
  7. Cardinals
  8. Mets
  9. Blue Jays
  10. Athletics
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Graeme Wallace

About Graeme Wallace

I'm a lifelong sports fan originally from Toronto, currently living in Hamilton. Baseball and hockey were my favourite sports when I was a kid but I gravitated towards basketball and football as I grew into my adolescent years. I love constantly tracking the stories that are never-ending and am not afraid to share a hot take.

View all posts by Graeme Wallace →

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