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Ranking the Chances for Every MLB Team to Land Trevor Bauer in Free Agency

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Trevor Bauer will be the most sought-after pitcher on the upcoming free-agent market, and his unique view on the league's financial structure promises to make him one of the most compelling stories of the winter.The 29-year-old led the National League in ERA (1.73) and WHIP (0.80) while racking up 100 strikeouts in 73 innings to establish himself as the NL Cy Young favorite and then tossed 7.2 scoreless innings with 12 strikeouts in Game 1 of the Wild Card Series.In normal circumstances, he could make a run at the seven-year, $245 million contract that Stephen Strasburg signed with the Washington Nationals last offseason.Instead, Bauer has indicated time and again that his preference is to sign one-year deals for the remainder of his career as a means of maximizing his annual earning potential and ensuring he is suiting up for a contender.If he sticks to that, a one-year, $40 million contract is not out of the question from a contender who thinks he is the missing piece.Before free agency kicks off in a few weeks, let's take a preliminary look at how all 30 teams stack up as landing spots for Bauer this offseason based on their financial flexibility, need in the starting rotation and status as contenders. Julio Urias (L)Despite the free-spending narrative surrounding the Los Angeles Dodgers, they generally don't break the bank in free agency.Their biggest investments in recent years have come in locking up their own in-house free agents and spending on the international market, with A.J. Pollock (four years, $55M) and Joe Kelly (three years, $25M) representing their biggest recent outside additions via free agency.It's also fair to question whether starting pitching is even an area of need.Clayton Kershaw and Walker Buehler will be back to lead the staff once again in 2021, while young starters Dustin May, Tony Gonsolin and Julio Urias all pitched well this year. Spencer HowardWith Jake Arrieta and his $20 million salary coming off the books (club options for 2021 and '22), the Philadelphia Phillies will be in the market for a starting rotation upgrade and have money to spend.They gave Zack Wheeler a five-year, $118 million contract last offseason, and he had an excellent first campaign with the team. Along with incumbent ace Aaron Nola, Bauer would give the Phillies a formidable Big Three as they look to chase down the NL East pack.However, the on-field results once again failed to match the on-paper talent in 2021, and the Phillies went 28-32 in their first year under manager Joe Girardi.The bullpen needs to be completely blown up and rebuilt, and the front office has a big decision to make regarding star catcher J.T. Realmuto as he joins Bauer on the free-agent market. Adbert AlzolayWith Jose Quintana and Tyler Chatwood both ticketed for free agency and Jon Lester likely to have his $25 million option declined in favor of a $10 million buyout, the Chicago Cubs have work to do to rebuild their starting staff.Alec Mills (11 GS, 5-5, 4.48 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 46 K, 62.1 IP) was a pleasant surprise, and rookie Adbert Alzolay (4 GS, 1-1, 2.95 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 29 K, 21.1 IP) impressed down the stretch.At some point, the organization needs to rely on in-house pitching help, but those two are probably best suited to round out the back of the rotation.With big decisions coming following the 2021 season as Kris Bryant, Javier Baez, Anthony Rizzo and Kyle Schwarber all reach free agency, one last all-in push to win a title with Bauer on a one-year deal is a potential approach to the offseason. Kyle WrightHot take: Atlanta doesn't need Trevor Bauer.Max Fried and Ian Anderson have emerged as a dominant one-two punch, and Kyle Wright has provided plenty of reason for optimism despite his ugly outing in Game 3 of the NLCS.Mike Soroka should be back from his torn Achilles early in 2021, and Bryse Wilson showed Thursday night that he's capable of being more than just organizational depth.Atlanta would be better served coming to terms on a new deal with free-agent slugger Marcell Ozuna and using the rest of the money it might otherwise spend on Bauer to address a relief corps that is set to lose Mark Melancon, Shane Greene and Josh Tomlin.Then again, if the team wants to go all-in on 2021 and expand the payroll, a short-term deal with Bauer wouldn't alter its long-term plans, and Atlanta has shown a fondness for one-year deals in recent years. Jordan Montgomery (L)One way or another, the New York Yankees starting rotation is going to have a new look in 2021.Masahiro Tanaka, J.A. Happ and James Paxton are all free agents, Luis Severino is not expected to be ready for Opening Day as he continues his recovery from Tommy John surgery, and Domingo German may not be welcomed back to the organization after serving an 81-game suspension for violating the league's domestic violence protocols.That would leave the Yankees to rely on some combination of Jordan Montgomery, Jonathan Loaisiga, Michael King and 2020 rookies Deivi Garcia and Clarke Schmidt to follow ace Gerrit Cole until Severino returns. Chris PaddackMacKenzie Gore and Luis Patino represent significant pieces of the long-term rotation puzzle in San Diego, and Patino gained valuable experience in 2020 with 10 appearances out of the bullpen.However, both players would likely benefit from a bit more seasoning in the minors, and once they arrive, it could be a few years before they reach their ceilings.In the meantime, the San Diego Padres have shown they are ready to contend right now, and adding Bauer to a rotation that will also have a full season of deadline pickup Mike Clevinger would make them a formidable foe for the Dodgers in the NL West.The health of Dinelson Lamet's right elbow will be an ongoing question mark until the next time he takes the mound, but the organization does have plenty of depth if he misses time, with Adrian Morejon, Ryan Weathers and Joey Lucchesi all capable of holding down a rotation spot.The Padres are an attractive landing spot on a one-year or on a multiyear pact given their core and future upside, so they have to be considered a legitimate contender for Bauer's services this winter. Seth LugoIt's a whole new ballgame for the New York Mets, assuming the proposed sale of the team to billionaire Steve Cohen goes through without a hitch.With an influx of cash and the desire to make an immediate splash, the Mets have to be viewed as players for the biggest names on this year's free-agent market, including Bauer and Realmuto.The starting rotation is a glaring hole with Marcus Stroman, Michael Wacha and Rick Porcello all reaching free agency and Noah Syndergaard working his way back from Tommy John surgery, and that alone is reason enough to include the Mets among the front-runners to sign Bauer.However, a potential preference toward Realmuto and the team's uninspired recent track record are enough to keep them out of the top spot in these rankings. Jaime BarriaThe Los Angeles Angels came up short in their run at signing Gerrit Cole last offseason, settling for Dylan Bundy and Julio Teheran as the big additions to a middling rotation.Bundy emerged as the staff ace, while Griffin Canning and Andrew Heaney both turned in solid seasons, providing a solid foundation for a good starting rotation if L.A. can find a bona fide ace.Bauer is that ace.Ideally, the Angels would find a long-term solution, but they can't afford to squander another year of Mike Trout's prime. Dane DunningIf there is one team that could view Bauer as the missing piece to push it into legitimate title contention, it's the Chicago White Sox.Lucas Giolito has developed into a bona fide ace, and Dallas Keuchel put up Cy Young-caliber numbers in the first season of a three-year, $55.5 million deal. But solidifying the staff with another ace-level starter would vault the South Siders into the World Series picture.Edwin Encarnacion has a $12 million salary coming off the books (2021 club option with no buyout), and now is the time to expand the payroll with the rebuild at a close and the contention window wide-open.A serious run at Manny Machado a couple of years ago showed the Sox are willing to make a splash for the right free agent, and Bauer is the right one.

As said here by Joel Reuter