Reds miss out on Bauer, but not for nothing

Club to receive high compensatory Draft pick after righty joins Dodgers

February 6th, 2021

CINCINNATI -- Once free-agent starting pitcher backed off his demands for signing only one-year contracts early in the offseason, the Reds’ slim chances to retain him essentially evaporated. But he didn’t get away for nothing.

Bauer announced on Friday that he agreed to sign with the Dodgers. According to MLB.com sources, it’s a three-year, $102 million contract. It includes opt-outs after each of his first two years, and he will be paid $40 million in 2021 and $45 million in ’22.

The Reds will be compensated with an additional first-round pick in the 2021 MLB Draft for losing Bauer after he declined their qualifying offer. That means they have the No. 17 pick and No. 30 pick in the first round along with the No. 35 overall selection, which comes in Competitive Balance Round A. Their second-round selection will be the 52nd overall pick.

Bauer, 30, became the first Reds pitcher to win the National League Cy Young Award from the Baseball Writers' Association of America after a superlative effort in 2020’s shortened season. The right-hander led the NL in ERA (1.73), WHIP (0.79), opponents’ batting average (.159), opponents’ BABIP (.215), ERA+ (276), fewest hits per nine innings (5.06), shutouts (2) and complete games (2). He also ranked second in strikeouts (100) and strikeouts per nine innings (12.33).

In 11 starts and 73 innings, Bauer had a 5-4 record and was 2-2 with a 1.29 ERA and 46 strikeouts over 35 innings in his final five starts. For his last regular-season start -- Sept. 23 vs. the Brewers -- he allowed one earned run and four hits over eight innings with one walk and 12 strikeouts for a 6-1 victory.

During an epic performance against Atlanta in Game 1 of the NL Wild Card Series, Bauer pitched 7 2/3 scoreless innings with 12 strikeouts. But he was left with a no-decision as the Reds' offense came up empty in a 1-0, 13-inning loss.

Cincinnati acquired Bauer from Cleveland in a three-team trade on July 31, 2019. In 10 starts after the trade, he was 2-5 with a 6.39 ERA and admitted to battling injuries.

Bauer more than made up for the lackluster first impression in 2020. He helped pitch the Reds into their first postseason in seven years. And indirectly, he will soon help the organization restock its system with another prospect as compensation.