Is reuniting with Trevor Bauer worth the backlash the Reds would surely face?

Former Cincinnati Reds pitcher Trevor Bauer
Former Cincinnati Reds pitcher Trevor Bauer / Jonathan Daniel/GettyImages

Trevor Bauer is a free agent. After being released by the Los Angeles Dodgers earlier this month, the 2020 NL Cy Young Award winner is available for the bargain basement price of just $720,000.

But signing Bauer isn't as simple as just putting pen to paper and saying, "See you in Goodyear next month." After his off-the-field actions resulted in a 194-game suspension, signing Bauer would be a PR nightmare.

Several teams have already been declared 'out' when it comes to the idea of signing Bauer. The Cincinnati Reds could be a plausible landing spot for the right-hander, but is it worth the risk?

Is the backlash worth the risk for the Reds to reunite with Trevor Bauer?

Trevor Bauer was traded to the Cincinnati Reds in 2019. The Reds were gearing up for a potential run at the NL Central Division title, and had pinned their hopes on the trio of Bauer, Sonny Gray, and Luis Castillo to lead the way in 2020.

Unfortunately, the coronavirus pandemic stopped spring training in its tracks and turned a 162-game marathon into a 60-game sprint. While Bauer pitched exceedingly well in 2020 and won the NL Cy Young Award, he also made himself a very valuable commodity on the open market and signed blockbuster deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers shortly after the completion of the season.

But Bauer's off-the-field actions caught up with him and Major League Baseball suspended the right-hander for the second-half of the 2021 season and all of the 2022 season. The Dodgers still owe Bauer, who is now 31 years old, $22.5M for the 2023 season.

The Cincinnati Reds have been in the market for a starting pitcher all offseason. The trio of Nick Lodolo, Hunter Greene, and Graham Ashcraft will make up 60% of next year's rotation. Pitchers such as Luis Cessa, Connor Overton, Luke Weaver, and Justin Dunn will be looking to fill out the final two spots in the rotation.

If the Reds were to bring Trevor Bauer aboard, presuming he picked up where he left off in June of 2021, he'd be the ace of next year's staff. But with Cincinnati focused on developing its young players, signing a pitcher like Bauer, who has so much baggage, seems like a very unwise decision.

Were the Reds in the mix for the division crown in 2023, and appeared to be one good pitcher away from making a postseason run, then the idea of reuniting with Bauer (despite the negative publicity) would make a lot more sense. But with the team in the midst of a rebuild, it seems too risky to bring Bauer back to the Queen City.

There is some merit to the idea of the Cincinnati Reds signing Trevor Bauer with the idea of flipping him at the trade deadline for additional prospects. However, that still comes with considerable risk, especially considering that Bauer hasn't thrown a pitch professionally in over a year and half.

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