The Dodgers have pitchers and catchers reporting for Spring Training today in Glendale. One of those guys reporting is Trevor Bauer, fresh off of signing one of the biggest 3-year deals of any starting pitcher ever.
As it turns out, Bauer’s deal with the Dodgers is a little more complicated than we thought. Rather than a straightforward deal that pays out more money in the first 2 seasons, Los Angeles structured the deal so that Bauer might actually have a reason to stay for the third year. Let’s dive into those details released today by USA Today and MLB insiders.
The trade provisions in Bauer’s contract might be the most interesting part of the deal for the Dodgers. The language of the deal prevents him from being traded to the American League from Opening Day up until the All-Star game.
Bauer also cannot be traded by the Dodgers to the American League after the All-Star game, provided that he makes the All-Star roster or pitchers 80+ innings prior. Bauer is also not able to withhold consent to a trade unless he is under consideration to win the Cy Young award. What that actually means, your guess is as good as mine. These rules and limitations apply to any given year in his contract.
More Financial Details
Speaking of the actual contract, the numbers aren’t nearly as straightforward as anyone had thought. In total, the deal is worth 3 years and $102 million. Provided he did not opt-out, he would be paid $28 million in 2021, $32 million in 2022, and $32 million in 2023. But, he can opt out of his contract with the Dodgers after 2021 and 2022.
If he opts out after 2021, he will receive a $2 million buyout. If he opts out after the 2022 season, he would receive a whopping $15 million buyout. That means for the 2023 season, he could take the $32 million from the Dodgers or accept a $15 million buyout and sign elsewhere.
Bauer can also get performance bonuses depending on how he does annually. He gets a $250,000 bonus for winning the Cy Young award, as well as $150,000 for finishing 2nd or 3rd in voting. The only innings bonus given to him by the Dodgers relates to his trade provisions listed above.
All of that to say, Bauer might not necessarily be a lock to opt-out of his contract following the 2022 season. It’s still possible, and even likely. But if he does not think that he can get a big deal from another team by then, Bauer could stay with the Dodgers and take the $32 million payday.
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