The New York Mets have become "more focused" on signing National League Cy Young Award winner Trevor Bauer since losing out on center fielder George Springer to the Toronto Blue Jays, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic.
Springer signed a six-year, $150 million deal with Toronto after New York was reportedly unwilling to go beyond $120 million. Bauer is seeking a deal with an annual average value of $35 million, according to MLB.com's Mark Feinsand, who noted Thursday the Mets and Los Angeles Angels were the front-runners to land the ace.
Spotrac estimates Bauer's next contract at four years, $117.1 million. Considering the Mets payroll for 2021 is $166.9 million, a deal would likely put New York up against the $210 million competitive balance tax threshold. The Mets will also surely try to extend shortstop Francisco Lindor, and Spotrac estimates he will earn $27.8 million per year.
Yet new chairman Steve Cohen has issued his front office a directive to spend like a major-market team to make New York a contender. And if the Mets are still going to add an outfielder, they may have to go over the tax to complete a deal for Bauer.
Bauer could be worth the money.
In 2020, the righty tossed 73 innings with a 1.73 ERA, 0.79 WHIP and 100 strikeouts against 17 walks. He gave up just 14 earned runs and allowed nine home runs. The 30-year-old had surpassed 175 innings in five consecutive seasons before the coronavirus pandemic-shortened 2020 campaign.
As the Mets look to re-establish themselves in the National League East under Cohen's leadership, landing Bauer has moved to the top of the club's wish list.
Whether New York will spend what it takes to get him remains to be seen.