Tuesday provided another mind-bending saga in the Trevor Bauer free-agency sweepstakes, and it revolved around the New York Mets.
A report from Bob Nightengale of USA Today stating that the Mets were a “clear favorite” to sign the 2020 NL Cy Young Award winner after submitting a “record-setting” deal for average annual salary was quickly refuted by multiple reports.
Gerrit Cole currently holds the record for the largest AAV deal at $36 million after signing a nine-year, $324 million pact with the Yankees last year.
A source confirmed with amNewYork Metro on Tuesday that the Mets are firmly in the hunt for Bauer, but the exact parameters for any potential offer are unknown at this time. It is just not as expensive as USA Today first reported.
On Monday, a source suggested to amNY Metro that the Mets would only be interested in bringing Bauer in on a short-term deal. In October, the 30-year-old righty was reportedly only looking for a one-year deal before his agent, Rachel Luba, said that her client will be open to all offers.
Based simply on the numbers, Bauer’s acquisition would be an enormous get for the Mets. It would create one of the most versatile one-two punches in the game alongside two-time Cy Young Award winner, Jacob deGrom, and a supporting staff of Carlos Carrasco, Marcus Stroman, and in June, Noah Syndergaard.
However, a massive contract — even for one year — would put the Mets over the league’s competitive balance tax threshold, thus opening the franchise up to penalties or fines. It also could impact their pursuits of other potential upgrades around the roster.
With a natural center fielder in need, the Mets’ interest in Jackie Bradley Jr. has remained constant after losing out on George Springer. They are also believed to be in the market for another reliever to bolster the bullpen.
On potentially going over that $210 million threshold, an MLB source told amNY Metro that owner Steve Cohen, whose estimated net worth was over $14 billion, has “dough. Wouldn’t be too worried.”
The team’s interest in Bauer also re-opens questions on the state of the Mets’ culture. Shortly after firing general manager Jared Porter just 37 days after his hiring for lewd and explicit text messages sent to a female reporter in 2016 while with the Chicago Cubs, New York is in on a pitcher who harassed a college student in 2019 on Twitter. He later apologized for the exchange.