Cincinnati Reds: Is $40-million per year enough to re-sign Trevor Bauer?

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - AUGUST 24: Trevor Bauer #27 of the Cincinnati Reds pitches in the first inning against the Milwaukee Brewers. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - AUGUST 24: Trevor Bauer #27 of the Cincinnati Reds pitches in the first inning against the Milwaukee Brewers. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

What will it take for the Reds to re-sign Trevor Bauer?

Trevor Bauer only wants to sign one-year contracts. While that seems a bit odd to most fans, Bauer has a method to his madness. The right-hander’s biggest motivation behind such a move is to always be in contention for championship. While it’s debatable that he’ll receive that chance with the Cincinnati Reds, what would it take for the team’s front office to re-sign Bauer?

Trevor Bauer (4-3, 1.74 ERA) is an elite pitcher. We saw the type of dominance he’s capable of during last night’s shutout win over the Chicago Cubs. Bauer went 7.2 innings, allowed just three hits, no walks and struck out 10 batters.

The Reds right-hander is a free agent this coming offseason and is likely to be one of the biggest names available. With Mookie Betts having signed a multi-year deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers, it’s likely between the trio of Bauer, J.T. Realmuto and George Springer to land the top free agent deal this winter.

Will the Reds be able to match what the open market offers to Trevor Bauer? There’s plenty of GMs who are likely licking their chops, hoping to offer Bauer the right deal. The thing is, with Bauer’s demands in terms of what he wants from a franchise, it’s unlikely many teams will offer him exactly what he’s looking for. The Reds actually have a shot, but it’ll cost them a pretty penny.

During a 2019 interview with Bob Nightengale of USA Today, Trevor Bauer rattled off several ideas and pondered many questions with regards to the free agent market. With Manny Machado and Bryce Harper still unsigned at this time, Bauer asked:

"“How much would Bryce Harper be worth on a one-year deal? Or Dallas Keuchel. How much would Max Scherzer be worth last year to the Brewers who were one game away from the World Series and needed an ace. If players are willing to take more risk and shorter term, they can really drive the value up. I can’t imagine a team wouldn’t pay $40 million for a year for Harper, Machado or Scherzer.”"

That quote should give you a bit of insight into the mind of Trevor Bauer. He’s very cerebral and calculating on the mound, and it would appear that he applies the same principles to the business side of the game. So, we must ask the question, is Bauer worth $40M per year? In my opinion, yes he is.

Now, I know there’s a bunch of naysayers out there who will claim that the Cincinnati Reds cannot afford to pay Bauer that much money. I’d argue that they can’t afford not to offer the right-hander a one-year/$40M contract. Let’s look at the Reds payroll for starters, no pun intended.

According to, the Cincinnati Reds payroll is sitting at about $138M. Two of the three highest paid players (Trevor Bauer and Nick Castellanos) will be free agents after this season. That is, of course, if Castellanos decides to opt-out of his current deal. Between the two, the Reds are shelling out $33.5M.

If the Reds decide to let free agents to-be Anthony DeSclafani (who’s making $5.9M this season) and Freddy Galvis (signed a one-year/$5.5M contract last offseason) walk, that frees up another $11.4M. I’m no math wizard, but Cincinnati has nearly $45M tied up between those four soon-to-be free agents.

To be sure, the likes of Tyler Mahle, Luis Castillo and Jesse Winker will receive hefty raises as they enter their first year of arbitration eligibility, but the Reds front office could also find a new home for their struggling closer Raisel Iglesias, who’s owed more than $9 next season.

If Castellanos decides to pick up his option for the 2021 season, it would make re-signing Bauer more difficult. However, that could also give the Reds incentive to bring the right-hander back. It would seem as though having both Bauer and Castellanos on the team next year would give Cincinnati the best chance to win.

Next. Castellanos is being robbed of hits

After Gerrit Cole and Stephen Strasburg set the market last winter, Trevor Bauer will look to establish a new figure this offseason. Cole signed a nine-year deal worth $36M per season and Strasburg is taking home $35M per year. It’ll probably take a $40M deal to land Bauer this offseason. The question is; will the Cincinnati Reds do it?