The Mets will finish Steve Cohen’s first offseason as owner batting .000 on major free agents.
Their pursuit of righthander Trevor Bauer fell short when he agreed to join the Dodgers on Friday. His announcement completed a drawn-out process that climaxed with a social-media sideshow earlier in the day.
Bauer, the reigning National League Cy Young Award winner, was the last best player available on the open market.
The Mets also passed on catcher J.T. Realmuto, who signed with the Phillies, so they could sign James McCann; lost out on centerfielder George Springer, who joined the Blue Jays for $150 million over six years, and never showed much interest in infielder DJ LeMahieu, who returned to the Yankees.
The Bauer sweepstakes was believed to be down to the Dodgers and Mets as of Thursday night. On Friday afternoon, Bauer’s personal website updated with hints that he was picking the Mets — advertising Mets gear, for example, or a giveaway of a Mets hat signed by him.
Upon signing up for the giveaway, participants received an email, written from Bauer’s perspective, noting that "I can’t wait to take the mound in New York!" He also gave them a coupon code — which included the popular Mets slogan "LFGM" — for 10% off in his online store.
When those details started to spread on social media, Bauer’s website updated again to include Dodgers and Angels hat giveaways, too. Then the website was taken down, with a note that "There’s been a Bauer Outage."
Bauer made his decision official in a YouTube video titled, "MY NEW HOME!!!" The highly produced 2-minute, 26-second segment ends with a shot of him wearing a Dodgers uniform top and hat.
"This season is about making sure history remembers us as we wish to be remembered," Bauer says in the video. "This season is about adding to our legacy. And I can’t wait, Dodgers fans."
Rachel Luba, Bauer’s agent, who frequently has interacted with the fan base of potential Bauer suitors this offseason, addressed Mets fans in a tweet.
"Mets fans, y’all will forever hold a special place in my heart," she wrote. "Thanks for all the great memes and photoshops. You can hate us, but we still love you."
Bauer’s contract reportedly is for three years and $102 million. He has opt-out clauses after each of the first two seasons that will allow him to go back to free agency if he wants.
Reports said Bauer is set to make $40 million in 2021 and $45 million in 2022. Those salaries would make him the highest-paid player in both seasons.
Jacob deGrom, for context, is due to make $36 million in 2021, part of a five-year, $137.5 million contract that increasingly looks like a great deal for the Mets.
The Mets’ rotation is not a pressing need, which made Bauer more of a luxury than a necessity. DeGrom, Carlos Carrasco, Marcus Stroman and David Peterson are penciled in, with the fifth spot seemingly up for grabs. Noah Syndergaard is expected back in June after he completes his Tommy John surgery rehabilitation.
If the Mets are looking for another starter, their free-agent options include Rich Hill, Jake Odorizzi and James Paxton.
Though they didn’t sign any of the top free agents, the Mets still have made significant upgrades across their roster. Their marquee acquisition is shortstop Francisco Lindor, who came over with Carrasco in a trade with Cleveland last month. They re-signed Stroman in November and added McCann, DH/first baseman/ corner outfielder Jose Martinez, relievers Trevor May and Aaron Loup and back-end/ depth starters Joey Lucchesi, Jordan Yamamoto and others.
Mets beat Davis. The Mets won their arbitration hearing against third baseman/outfielder J.D. Davis, a source said. He will make $2.1 million in 2021, not the $2.475 million he sought.
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