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Mets still pursuing free-agent pitcher Trevor Bauer, source says

Trevor Bauer of the Cincinnati Reds pitches during

Trevor Bauer of the Cincinnati Reds pitches during a game against the Milwaukee Brewers on Sept. 23, 2020. Credit: Kyodo

The Mets remain in pursuit of free-agent pitcher Trevor Bauer but have not made him a record offer, according to a source.

A USA Today story on Tuesday initially said the Mets had made the 30-year-old righthander an offer that would surpass the $36 million per year annual value of the nine-year, $324 million contract Gerrit Cole signed with the Yankees last offseason, but for a much shorter term.

USA Today later corrected its story to say it had "misstated" the Mets’ offer and that it would "approach" Cole’s $36 million average.

Some team is probably going to make Bauer very rich very soon The final parameters, in terms of dollars and years, have yet to be determined.

It is not known which other teams are pursuing Bauer, but the Dodgers and Angels have been mentioned as prospective suitors for the top pitcher on the free-agent market.

That the Mets are showing serious interest is a significant development in the busy offseason of new owner Steve Cohen and new team president Sandy Alderson.

The Mets already have traded for shortstop Francisco Lindor and starter Carlos Carrasco and signed catcher James McCann and reliever Trevor May.

Bauer won the NL Cy Young Award in 2020 by going 5-4 with a 1.73 ERA for Cincinnati. He has a career record of 75-64 with a 3.90 ERA in nine seasons but didn’t emerge as one of the top pitchers in baseball until 2018, when he went 12-6 with a 2.21 ERA for Cleveland.

Bauer is a major presence on social media and has enjoyed chronicling his free-agent journey. The Mets are no doubt scrutinizing Bauer’s social media history, especially after they fired new general manager Jared Porter on Jan. 19 after a report about his unwanted sexually-explicit text messages toward a female reporter in 2016, when he worked for the Cubs.

In 2019, Bauer got into a baseball-related feud on Twitter with a 21-year-old female college student who later said she "felt harassed" by the pitcher and his Twitter followers. Bauer mentioned her more than 80 times in tweets during the period.

Bauer later apologized. Since the incident has been raised again during Bauer’s free agency, he posted a statement on social media last week about it. It did not include an apology or a specific reference to the 2019 incident.

"I have always tried to be an open book and appreciate that social media gives me a platform to have an open dialogue with fans and the greater public,’’ Bauer said. "I don’t shy away from confrontation and am often quick to defend myself, but I am by no means a bully and I take great offense to my character being called into question. I understand what comes with having a following on social media but I have never asked for nor do I condone anyone making threats or lewd comments on my behalf."

Bauer has had two moments during the free-agent season that make you think he sees the Mets as a prime destination.

After Cohen bought the team, Bauer posted a YouTube video in November entitled, "Steve Cohen’s BRILLIANT Start / Trevor Bauer Weighs In."

Bauer went on to say what he likes about Cohen, including the owner’s fondness for interacting with Mets fans on Twitter.

Then, after the Mets acquired Lindor and Carrasco on Jan. 7, Bauer put on a Mets cap and posted a YouTube video in which he discussed an incident from 2019, when Bauer and Lindor were teammates in Cleveland.

Cleveland manager Terry Francona was walking out to the mound to take Bauer out of a game when Bauer turned and threw the ball over the centerfield fence. Three days later, Bauer was traded to Cincinnati – but not before a stern talking-to from Lindor.

"He just blew me up, which I deserved," Bauer said on the video. "He yelled at me. He told me it was unacceptable, that it was selfish and all of these different things. I thought it was a really good moment."

Minaya to serve as ambassador

The Mets are bringing back Omar Minaya -- again.

A baseball source confirmed to Newsday on Tuesday that Minaya, the former Mets general manager, is close to returning to the club in an "ambassador" role.

Minaya's new gig in his fourth stint with the Mets will include public appearances and outreach to the Latino community.

Minaya, 62, was the first Latino general manager in baseball when he was hired by the Montreal Expos in 2002 after coming up through the Rangers' and Mets' front offices.

He returned to the Mets in 2004 and was their general manager until 2010.

Minaya was brought back again in 2017 as an adviser to then-general manager Sandy Alderson and remained in that role under Brodie Van Wagenen. Minaya was let go along with most of the front office after Steve Cohen bought the team in November and Alderson took over as team president.

Minaya's latest return was first reported by the New York Post.

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