The Mets starting rotation needs to be upgraded and fortified for the 2021 season. The 2020 rotation figured to be a strong point before last season, then the combination of Zack Wheeler departing for free agency, Noah Syndergaard tearing up his elbow, and Marcus Stroman sitting out the season led to serious underperformance in aggregate for the 2020 starters. One pitcher the Mets could target is Trevor Bauer, arguably the gem of free agent pitching class this year.

Bauer was mostly a middle of the rotation pitcher for his first few years in the league, then in 2018 he broke out with a big season in which he finished 6th in the AL Cy Young vote. He might have finished higher had not his season been shortened by a line shot that struck his leg and fractured it. His 2019 was not as good, but that leg injury might have slowed him down some at the start of the year.

His 2020 season was impeccable. Pitching for Cincinnati in the abbreviated schedule, he racked up a 5-4 record in 73 IP. His ERA was 1.73 and his FIP figure was 2.44. HIs WHIP was 0.79, and hitters batted only .159 against him.

Some may say his competition was not the strongest, but his grouping of NL Central and AL Central divisions finished at exactly .500, as did the other groupings since all games were in the groupings all season.

Bauer throws a variety of pitches, including fastballs, sinking fastballs, cutters, sliders, changeups and splitters. According to FanGraphs his average fastball velocity was 93.8 in 2020. That’s not Jacob deGrom fast, but combined with his command and assortment of secondary pitches, he put up a dominant year. He’s a good candidate to win this year’s NL Cy Young, scheduled to be announced on November 11.

Bauer has gone against the grain with his belief that he might be even more effective if he pitched on three days’ rest instead of the standard four days. It might be possible to occasionally do this with the Mets, meaning a few less starts for the number five pitcher on the staff. Unless the Mets radically improve their SP depth, that would be a good thing.

Aside from his pitching ability, some have questioned his intangibles. On the very pages of this site, phrases like “too much baggage” and “pain in the ass” have been tossed about by commenters and authors. Bauer is intelligent (4.86 GPA in high school, graduated a year early) and opinionated. Some of his actions and declarations have rubbed people the wrong way.

He revealed his dating parameters, which include no long term relationships and no social media posts about him. In addition, he has said “I sleep with other people, I’m going to continue to sleep with other people.” Likely many other ballplayers follow a similar approach, but they don’t broadcast it. Bauer is upfront with his dating partners about his lack of interest in an exclusive relationship.

Some teammates and coaches don’t like him for his penchant for having his own workout routine, but it seems to work for him. He had a notable clash with pitching coach Mickey Callaway when they both toiled for the Cleveland Indians, over this issue. Other teammates, notably several other pitchers on the Indians, said Bauer helped them with their mechanics. But they all said the same thing, that Bauer was willing to help, but he had to be approached first.

Bauer identifies himself as a socially liberal free market capitalist, and such beliefs are likely to offend a small segment of the population. He was also quoted as saying “Climate changed before humans and will change after.” The Mets have employed other players with non-mainstream beliefs, including Curtis Granderson. Granderson was a partisan of some wild conspiracy theories including that the Apollo moon landings were a hoax , and yet he was one of the most popular Mets of his time.

The new regime running the Mets surely has the funds to offer a competitive contract to Bauer. Bauer has expressed interest in playing for a bona fide competitor, and of course the Mets did end up in last place in the NL East. But with Syndergaard likely to return to the mound sometime in the first half of the season, and perhaps some free agent signings on tap, Bauer could well consider the Mets to be a contender. It might be refreshing to have Bauer on the team…especially if he pitches like he did last year.

12 comments on “Trevor Bauer is a good fit for the Mets

  • HOF19

    Love this idea !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • HOF19

    Steve Cohen >>>>> “I can make millions of people happy” “I’m not trying to make money here” “it’s about building something for the fans” ………Futher comment ….. ” I am not in this to be mediocre “.

  • Brian Joura

    A reminder to everyone to comment on what the article is about. If you want to talk about something besides the article – go to the Open Thread and post it there.

    As for Bauer, he’s so talented but also so polarizing. If I was running things, this would be a case where I’d want to make sure that deGrom was completely on board with having Bauer as a teammate before I went after him.

  • Bob P

    Depending on the price tag and number of years I wouldn’t dismiss Bauer based on his social media habits or beliefs (although I would consider the impact they could have on the clubhouse or the team in general) but I am concerned about overpaying based on this year. You mentioned that the teams Bauer pitched against had a .500 record which is not the case. He had Det (2), Mil (3), KC (1), CHC (2), Pit (2) and CHW (1). If I weight those teams winning %s I come to .457 or well below .500.

    Also he’s had one very good full year plus a very good partial year last year (against the competition noted above). I have read that he’s increased his spin rate and that’s helped but there’s been some questions about how he’s done that and if doctoring balls were an issue. I have no idea if the questions are valid or not, but they are out there.

    I’d be real careful about signing him long term and for big $. At the right price, maybe, but I’d have to think real hard about it.

  • Thomas M Christensen

    Well ,another story lost to Toronto ,it seems to me the Mets have always been a minute late and a dollar short in getting a player worth while .I sure hope this year coming isn’t going to be that way if they are to compete for the NL East Pennant ? If they want a top player they have to pay a top dollar ! Now is the time for the Management to come to the aid of their team and get the pieces needed to make a winner . #1 is a top catcher ,next isa solid hitting center fielder ,then fill in with one or two top pitchers either FA or trade but get the help now !

    Editor’s Note – Please do not capitalize words in your post, as that is a violation of our Comment Policy.

  • Mike W

    We have Jake. Lets see if Stroman takes the qualifying offer. If he doesn’t, then that means that our need for a top line pitcher just went up. But I am wary of Bauer. Sure he was great this year, but he only pitched 73 innings and in 2019, well, he was really Trevor Bauer with a 4.48 ERA. His career ERA is 3.90. Don’t want to dump a load of money into that. For now, Bauer is the shiny object.

    I think we can be creative and get one or two decent starters via the trade route. THe Brewers could use a young shortstop or first baseman. Corbin Burnes would be awfully attractive. He is 26 and wouldn’t be a free agent until 2025.

    Either way, it is a roll of the dice. I do see the Mets going after Realmuto and Springer. I don’t buy all of this Lindor trade hype. We already have two shortstops and Mauricio in the minors.

  • Peter Hyatt

    Baggage and talent.

    Caution.

    I don’t know how he’d play out in New York’s spotlight.

    I wouldn’t like to see a long contract.

  • TJ

    Bauer concerns me, but more so due the combination of supply/demand for starting pitching combined with his success being limited in terms of quality seasons. Additionally, he had a great 60 game season in 2020 vs. extremely limited competition. I would not commit major dollars to him, but I’d certainly gauge the market. Frankly, I’d handle Bauer and Realmuto the same way – shorter term deals with higher AAV. If they bite, they bite, but the Cohen-led Mets will clearly be in the driver’s seat.

  • John Fox

    Several references were made to the level of competition Mr. Bauer pitched against. I don’t believe I have heard that argument before with reference to individual MLB players. He doesn’t set the rotation, that’s just the way it fell. I can remember the 1973 season when Tom Seaver won the Cy Young. Was it diminished because the Mets played 18 games against each of the NL East teams, and none of them finished over .500, while the team played 12 games against each of the stronger western division clubs. I would say no to any diminishment.

  • Remember1969

    Bob P is spot on above. I am not looking at the winning percentages of these teams – they had to all play each other and somebody had to win half of them. What I am looking at is that the Brewers hit a collective .223 as a team this year, leading the league in striking out. The Pirates and Cubs each hit .220 as a team. 7 of 11 starts this year against teams that were the bottom two in hitting average in the majors. Detroit and Kansas City were at .245 and .244 while the White Sox hit .261. He lost the start against them. He didn’t have to pitch against the Reds and didn’t pitch against the Cardinals . .or anyone else.

    The other thing about this year is there was very little travel, which most likely benefitted all pitchers. In looking at Bauer’s complete MLB body of work, I just cannot put 2020 in to the equation as a full year. Other than 2020, he has had one good season – other than 2018, no other ones with and ERA of less than 4.18.

    Which Trevor Bauer is on trial at this point? His fortune is that he is a free agent this year and not last. Anyone that signs him believing that his 2020 is the real thing will be disappointed.

    So, pass, please spend the money on Springer, Realmuto, and about 4 of the other mid-range pitchers.

  • Metsense

    There are too stories to ignore. His personality is suspect. He doesn’t accept authority. A $30m contract would empower him. He would be any thing but refreshing.

  • MattyMets

    Hard pass.
    Mets have a very strong clubhouse chemistry. Last thing we need is a pain in the ass distraction. Plus, Bauer faced weak competition in a short season and put up numbers far better than he usually does.

    We need another starting pitcher, but there are plenty of less costly, headachy options. With Stroman back, Mets should focus the big money on Realmuto and either Springer or trade for Lindor or Arenado.

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