Mets Should Not Pursue Trevor Bauer
With Marcus Stroman accepting the qualifying offer, the Mets have another top of the line starting pitcher to pair with Jacob deGrom. Arguably, their rotation is fine as is, especially with Noah Syndergaard due to return after the All Star Break. That said, ideally, the Mets want Seth Lugo in the bullpen meaning the team needs to sign one more starter.
Right now, the popular choice among Mets fans is Trevor Bauer. For a few reasons, he’s not the ideal choice for this team.
First and foremost is cost. Yes, this is no longer the period of austerity with the Wilpons. Still, even Steve Cohen presumably has his limits.
MLB Trade Rumors predicts Bauer will sign a deal in the vicinity of four years $128 million ($32 million AAV). That is a lot of money to tie up in a soon to be 30 year old pitcher. That goes double when you consider the Mets other needs.
This offseason, the Mets need to probably add at least one more starter. They also desperately need a real CF and a catcher. Past that, the team needs to build a bullpen again. Bauer at $30+ million a year encumbers the ability to build a complete roster.
When you look past 2021, Bauer further damages the Mets ability to build a complete team.
After the 2021 season, Stroman, Syndergaard, Michael Conforto, and Steven Matz will be free agents. After that season, deGrom can opt out, and Brandon Nimmo will be a free agent. This is part of the core of this Mets team. It may be difficult to keep all of them as is. With signing Bauer to a mega-deal, it really restricts the Mets ability to do that.
This is especially noteworthy because Brodie Van Wagenen stripped the Mets farm system. The players the Mets could’ve had come through the ranks to replace some of these players are gone. That puts an increased importance on keeping the talent on the roster on the Mets.
Another important note with Bauer’s expected contract is it may very well be a poor investment relative to what’s available on the market. Consider the numbers of the following pitchers over the last four years:
- Bauer – 132 ERA+, 3.52 FIP
- Charlie Morton – 127 ERA+, 3.27 FIP
- Masahiro Tanaka – 103 ERA+, 4.23 FIP
- Jose Quintana – 106 ERA+, 3.86 FIP
- James Paxton – 115 ERA+, 3.30 FIP
That’s just five of the options in a fairly deep middle of the rotation market. Looking at Bauer, he may be better than the group, but he’s not $20 million better. Not even close.
That goes double when you consider his numbers prior to his beating up on HORRENDOUS offenses in a shortened season. From 2017 – 2019, Bauer had a 124 ERA+ and a 3.60 FIP.
Those numbers put Bauer a clear step below Morton who is likely to sign a shorter term deal for roughly 1/3 of the AAV Bauer is going to receive.
Yes, it can be argued Bauer is younger and might’ve unlocked something. However, it’s far from a guarantee, and his expected contract will pay him like his 2020 will be repeated over the next 3-4 seasons.
If you’re the Mets, that’s a bad bet to make with so many areas of the roster to address this year and with their need to lockup their homegrown stars. Taking all that into account, the Mets really need to pass on Bauer and get an equally talented pitcher which would also permit them to truly pursue J.T. Realmuto, George Springer, and the other top free agents.