Wait, could Trevor Bauer become a Met after all?
For months, the team’s offseason course was clear. They were interested in George Springer and largely uninterested in exceeding the $210 million luxury tax.
After passing on Springer, it's now an open question if that will remain the plan. There is an alternate course, one that we should probably no longer consider highly unlikely, as this unpredictable offseason continues: a late pursuit of Cy Young winner Trevor Bauer.
If the Los Angeles Angels or any other team decides to offer Bauer four or more years in the ballpark of $36 million per year, they will almost certainly land him. It is very hard to imagine the Mets going that far, based on everything we have gathered from reporting this winter.
But if Bauer signs a shorter-term deal at, say, $30 million per year? I bet the Mets would be in on that.
Public estimates vary as to the team’s exact payroll right now, but team sources have consistently pegged it at about $185-190 million. We have reported before that they have payroll-shedding trades lined up that they could pull the trigger on if needed; we hear that one of those deals involves Steven Matz and his $5.2 million salary.
Signing Bauer and trading Matz would still put the Mets over $210 million. But maybe they live with that in order to have two Cy Young winners at the top of their rotation.
Another potential factor with Bauer is that a college student, Nikki Giles, accused the pitcher of “harassment” in 2019 when he tweeted at her more than 80 times. The tweets were not of a sexual nature, but in light of Jared Porter’s recent firing for harassing a reporter via text message, it’s an element of Bauer’s past that would need to be vetted carefully.
Bauer addressed the situation on Twitter at the time.
“I have been made aware that some of the interactions related to a specific Twitter exchange may have had a negative impact," he tweeted. "That was not my intention. I will wield the responsibility of my public platform more responsibly in the future."
If the Mets ultimately pass on Bauer, they would likely spend the rest of their offseason looking for a center fielder (Jackie Bradley Jr. and Albert Almora are among the possibilities) a corner outfielder, and a lefty reliever (they are still talking to Brad Hand).
I’m the guy who has been telling you that the Mets don’t want to go over the luxury tax. But I’ve also said that things can change, with both the payroll and Bauer.
Well, maybe things will change after all.