Pending free-agent Trevor Bauer should be of huge interest to the San Diego Padres.
Prized starting pitcher Trevor Bauer will be a free agent this offseason, and the San Diego Padres will likely consider signing Bauer to strengthen the starting rotation.
His electric stuff and marketability off the field will draw many suitors for a high price.
Bauer boasts a career 3.90 ERA and a 1.265 WHIP in 1,190 innings. He is also proficient at striking hitters out, recording 1,279 strikeouts over the course of his career.
You can find Bauer active on Twitter quite often. He uses his Twitter to bring attention to his performance, make jokes, call out MLB commissioner Rob Manfred, and even tease fanbases about where he will sign in free agency.
This year’s @Padres team is scary. Imagine what that offense, defense, and attitude could look like next year with a stable of elite starting pitchers 😉
— Trevor Bauer (@BauerOutage) October 8, 2020
He is also on YouTube, where he vlogs about his life and posts his pitching and workout routines. Bauer markets himself through social media and YouTube, and he’s become one of the most popular yet polarizing players in baseball.
Bauer reached the majors in 2012 with Arizona Diamondbacks, but he didn’t break into a starting rotation until 2014 with the Cleveland Indians.
In his first four years in the Indians starting rotation, he made at least 26 starts with an ERA+ of 101 from 2014-17, which is just over the average mark of 100.
In 2018, he broke out with the best year of his career at that point. Bauer finished in sixth place for the American League Cy Young Award with a 2.21 ERA and 1.089 WHIP in 175.1 innings. He also led the AL with a 2.44 FIP.
For your passion, unquenchable desire to win, and dedication to your craft …
— Cleveland Indians (@Indians) July 31, 2019
Bauer struggled in his limited time as a Red in 2019, posting a 6.39 ERA and a 1.349 WHIP in 56.1 innings.
However, he turned things around in 2020 for the Reds. He is the probable 2020 National League Cy Young Award winner with his stellar 1.73 ERA and .795 WHIP in 73 innings.
— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) September 24, 2020
His pitch arsenal consists of a fastball, slider, cutter, and curveball. Bauer used to throw a changeup around seven to eight percent of the time, but he very rarely used his changeup in 2020, which is why some experts credit his success in 2020.
Bauer uses his fastball just about half of the time. The average velocity on his fastball dipped to 93.5 mph in 2020, but he threw the fastball with better command as a result of it. Of Bauer’s 100 strikeouts in 2020, he recorded 48 of them using the fastball, which is on par with his fastball usage.
Trevor Bauer, 96mph Paint. Approximately. pic.twitter.com/n5fz62XTVH
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) September 30, 2020
His slider travels at around 80 mph, which creates a large speed difference from his fastball. He used the slider 16% of the time, which is significantly up from his previous three seasons. Opponents only hit .074 off his slider in 2020.
Trevor Bauer, 82mph Slider in the middle of the lefty batter's box for a Sword. 😂 pic.twitter.com/izapuPhR1W
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) September 19, 2020
The cutter is a hybrid between his slider and fastball. It moves less than the slider, but the pitch speed is between that of the slider and fastball at 85 mph.
Bauer’s curveball is his premier off-speed pitch that drops off the table at just under 80 mph. He used to use the curveball more than the slider and cutter, but he only used it 15% of the time in 2020. Despite being used the least out of his off-speed, Bauer recorded 26 strikeouts with the curveball in 2020, the most out of his off-speed pitches.
Trevor Bauer, Sadistic 12th K.
Nearly fields his own dropped 3rd strike…
And then Conor McGregor struts to the dugout. 😂 pic.twitter.com/UUZ6LLy41B
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) September 24, 2020
As for the Padres, there will be an opening in the starting rotation for 2021 with Garrett Richards no longer being under contract.
There are seemingly four pitchers — Dinelson Lamet, Mike Clevinger, Zack Davies, and Chris Paddack — in the rotation as it stands right now. It will be crucial to have a five starting pitchers for 2021 when the season returns to 162 games.
Dinelson Lamet and Mike Clevinger will both be in the rotation if healthy, which general manager A.J. Preller expects them to be in 2021. However, the reality is that one of the two may not be ready for the start of the season after they both finished the season with injuries.
— Zesty MLB Indians (@zesty_indians) June 22, 2018
Bauer can be used as a safety blanket if either Lamet or Clevinger is not ready come Opening Day. If the two are ready, Bauer can slide in to make the rotation a solid five.
Additionally, several young arms will also be fighting for a rotation spot, which may lean the Padres’ front office away from signing Bauer.
Adrián Morejón graduated from his prospect status in 2020 after pitching 19.1 innings as both a starter and a reliever. Although he is a potential starter, he has yet to throw over three innings in a single outing. Morejón will likely be given a shot at the rotation if Bauer is not brought in.
Luis Patiño will also be fighting for a spot in the rotation. He only started one game in 2020 but made several appearances out of the bullpen. Patiño struggled with his control, but his electric fastball and slider were on full display throughout the season. Despite primarily appearing in relief in 2020, the Padres still think he can be a starter.
Ryan Weathers made his major league debut in the postseason against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Although he only made one appearance, he recorded four outs without allowing a run. He will also be up for the fifth rotation spot.
The final player who will be in contention for a rotation spot if Bauer is not signed will be top prospect, MacKenzie Gore.
After returning from the pandemic layoff Gore struggled in camp and never made it to the majors in the shortened 2020 season. Reports say he looked better as the season went on, but the Padres opted to keep him down because they want him to be featured as a starter only.
— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) September 30, 2020
Those four players can lean Preller away from Bauer if he is confident in their abilities to start for the Padres in 2021. Now that the Padres made the playoffs in 2020, the expectation will be to make it back in 2021, and the starting rotation will play a big part in that.
Bauer originally said he wants a one or two-year deal this offseason, but his agent Rachel Luba recently announced that they would be interested in any offer, no matter the length of the deal.
The Padres proved in the past that they are willing to offer big contracts to free agents, with James Shields, Eric Hosmer, and Manny Machado. They are now presented with the opportunity to add Bauer to that list.
Contrarily, Executive Chairman Ron Fowler admitted that the Padres lost over $100 million due to the shortened season and the lack of fans at games, so he and General Partner Peter Seidler may be less willing to bid on Bauer in an act to save money.
There are other options available to the owners, so Bauer isn’t vital for the Padres. However, signing Bauer will help the Padres’ championship odds significantly.