After a winter of wondering where the best free-agent pitcher in baseball would sign, Trevor Bauer announced on Friday, Feb. 5 that he had chosen the Los Angeles Dodgers. On Thursday, the Dodgers and Bauer made it official with a press conference welcoming the righty starter to Los Angeles.
Bauer signed a three-year contract with Los Angeles worth $102 million total guaranteed, along with two possibilities for opt out. The 2020 Cy Young winner will collect $40 million in 2020, $45 million in 2021, and $17 million should he chose to stay with the Dodgers for the second and third years of his contract.
A Southern California native, Bauer attended William S. Hart High School. He was the third overall selection in the 2011 MLB draft by Arizona out of the University of California, Los Angeles. While at UCLA he went 13-2 with a 1.25 ERA, where he won the Golden Spikes Award and National Pitcher of the Year honors. Bauer was the first Bruin to win an MLB Cy Young.
Bauer has played nine season in the majors with the Arizona Diamondbacks, Cleveland Indians and the Cincinnati Reds. Lifetime, he has amassed a 75-64 record with a 3.90 ERA and 1,279 strikeouts.
To make room for Bauer on the 40-man roster, the Dodgers designated righty pitcher Josh Sborz for assignment.
“To add a player of his caliber to the existing roster that we have was something when the offseason started was very much on our mind, but we weren’t sure how realistic it would be,” Dodgers’ President of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman said to open Thursday’s press conference. “We’re here today with the culmination of a lot of work from a lot of people and to be in this position is extremely exciting.”
Added Bauer, “I used to sit in the bleachers right over there as a kid, with Vin Scully on the radio. Been a long time Dodger fan and I couldn’t be more excited to be here.”
Bauer cited the organization itself, the talent, and the organizational structure as the factors that really drew him to wanting to sign with the Dodgers. He also said that he valued a team that would work with him on development, and one that has a great chance at the World Series as things very important to him.
“At the end, everything kinda fit well together,” Bauer said.
Asked whether the Dodgers did their due diligence about Bauer and some concerns that fans may have, Friedman said that they had talked to Bauer multiple times, former coaches, and teammates, and they feel that Bauer will learn from his mistakes. Friedman believes Bauer will be a tremendous addition to both the clubhouse and the community.
Bauer was asked further about past instances when he was harassing or perceived to be harassing women on social media. He mostly brushed aside the questions, stating this was not the forum for those discussions. He reiterated that he would learn from his past mistakes and that he would try to be the best teammate and person he can possibly be.
When asked why such a bold move was warranted with the team the Dodgers already have, Friedman said that they felt good about the existing squad, but by adding Bauer, they now have seven proven big-league starters for the regular season and throughout the playoffs. Durability was a huge factor in the Dodgers signing Bauer, especially with the unknowns coming off a a season that was so different.
Friedman also stated that they look at the payroll over a three to five-year period, not at one specific year at a time.
As far as the San Diego Padres and their moves this offseason, Friedman said, “We’ve definitely noticed what they’ve done, and we’re going to do everything we can to maintain our position.”
Added Bauer, “It wasn’t about the money for me, it was about being a part of something bigger than myself, being a part of an organization that can win. I wanna win a World Series. I’ve come in second both in college and in the big leagues. I’m tired of it. I want to come in first.”
Bauer was asked about his wanting to pitch every fourth day as opposed to the typical five days and said, “Me wanting to pitch every fourth day is not a selfish thing. I feel like I would be a better pitcher doing that. I don’t make those decisions obviously… but just having someone who’s willing to listen to that and have an honest conversation about that… the open mindedness to be willing to have that conversation is important to me.”
Continued Bauer, “It’s a surreal moment for me, and something that I’m very proud of, being able to sit here, you know in the same place I would come two times a year and watch the Dodgers games. It’s pretty surreal for me right now.”
Bauer will wear uniform No. 27.