It’s no question that the Mets had significant struggles from their rotation in 2020. Aside from Jacob deGrom and David Peterson, there was not much success elsewhere. GM Brodie Van Wagenen’s main offseason additions in Rick Porcello and Michael Wacha underperformed greatly. Steven Matz had an ERA over 9.00. Noah Syndergaard missed the season due to Tommy John Surgery. Marcus Stroman opted out as well. As a result, it’s evident that incoming owner Steve Cohen is going to prioritize starting pitching for the Mets to succeed.
There are many potential options for the Mets whether it be through free agency or trade. However, there is one option that sticks out above all the rest. That is to-be free agent Trevor Bauer, who pitched for the Cincinnati Reds this past season. Bauer was one of the main reasons the Reds were able to get in due to his superb pitching. Bauer pitched so well that he is very likely to take home the 2020 NL Cy-Young Award.
Traditional Stats: 11 G, 73 IP, 1.73 ERA, 0.795 WHIP, 100 K, 12.3 K/BB, 1.1 HR/9
Advanced Stats: 0.3 fWAR, 2.7 bWAR, 2.88 FIP, 276 ERA+
Trevor Bauer is the best option in this year’s free-agent market. The Mets must do everything in their power to try and bring Bauer to Queens. Bauer has been very active on Twitter teasing certain teams in need of pitching. The Mets are one of those teams who could desperately use at least one pitcher this offseason.
The rotation was a disaster this season for the Mets, who were forced to use ten different starters. Bauer could add a great 1-2 punch at the top of the rotation for them.
Jacob deGrom and Trevor Bauer could make the Mets a force to be reckoned with. Add David Peterson on top of that, who had a productive first season in the league. In addition, the return of Noah Syndergaard sometime next season would make the rotation that much scarier.
Mets Desperate for Starting Pitcher
The Mets must look at approaching Bauer and his agent Rachel Luba to join the club. The Mets soon-to-be owner is worth a grand total of $14 billion and will quite possibly look to make a huge splash. The reports have stated that Cohen is likely looking to revamp the analytics department and focus more on trades. If that’s the case, that is fine, however, I think it would behoove the Mets to make an attempt at Bauer. Then, they can begin to consider possible trade opportunities.
Bauer proved during this shortened season that he is the real deal and will be able to perform as an ace-level pitcher. Signing a potential-ace pitcher to pair with Jacob DeGrom would show that the Mets are for real. It would show that the days of cheapening out and looking for bargain deals are over.
The Mets must put their foot into the fire and get involved. While Bauer does not have a history of pitching to his 2020 level, the Mets can afford to take the gamble. The current offensive core is one of the best in baseball and the Mets can not waste it. The pitching, specifically the starting pitching was a tremendous failure and disappointment. The Mets cannot afford to sit idle and hope for other guys like Steven Matz to step up. It’s been far too long of waiting and hoping for certain pitchers to break out. The “ifs” as GM Brodie Van Wagenen has alluded to, must be eliminated.
Bauer currently stands at 75-64 in his career with a 3.90 ERA for the Diamondbacks, Indians, and Reds. After struggling at the beginning of his career, he has posted at least an ERA+ of 106 since the 2016 season. This past season was his best one by far as he performed to the tune of a 276 ERA+, where 100 is average.
Just to compare, Jacob deGrom’s ERA+ this past season was 178 and his best was 218 in 2018. Bauer has exceeded both of those numbers by a significant margin. It just goes to show how dominant of a force Bauer was this year. As a result, he is definitely someone the Mets should have their eye on.
The Mets should definitely be all-in on Bauer, however, there are some concerns. Bauer is entering his age-30 season and there were reports that he is looking for a similar contract to Stephen Strasburg. While Bauer has every right to demand that, it doesn’t seem likely that it would be a place the Mets want to go. Rather than a seven-year deal, the Mets may push for four or five. Rather than $35 million per year, the Mets may look at something between $25-30 million annually. Now don’t get me wrong, signing Bauer is a must to improve the rotation struggles, however, some of the rumors that have swirled do cause some concern.
That is because while many think that soon-to-be owner Steve Cohen will throw money at anyone, they would be wrong. Cohen will treat the team like his hedge-fund in that he will value players at certain prices. If a certain player is asking for much more than the team and Cohen has them valued at, the team may pass on them. This is why fans must be cautioned into thinking that Cohen will spend like a drunken sailor so to speak. There will be a method to his madness and whichever way the team goes, will be well-thought-out and they will weigh the costs and benefits.
Trevor Bauer should be a Met sometime this offseason. The Mets and Trevor Bauer’s camp need to do all they can do to work out a deal. The fans want it, I’m sure the owner would want it, and the player would definitely want to join a promising club under the right circumstances.
That of course, can be attributed to his asking price and what Bauer will demand to come to Queens. All I know is that the Mets are desperate for at least one starting pitcher. Bauer would check many boxes and give the Mets one of the best 1-2 punches in the league. He would also energize a fanbase that is starved for success and looking to see their Mets in the postseason again.
It would also be a great start for a new era of Mets baseball under Steve Cohen as Mets fans finally have something to look forward to. It would show that the club is serious about upgrading their Achilles heel in 2020 as they work to bring playoff baseball back to Queens in 2021.