Trevor Bauer won't throw a pitch for the Cincinnati Reds next season, but he did leave them a parting gift.
Bauer agreed to a three-year, $102 million contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday, which includes opt-out clauses after the first two years, according to ESPN. The Reds will receive a compensation pick after the first round of the 2021 MLB Draft (No. 30 overall) because Bauer declined the team's qualifying offer in November.
The Reds weren't seriously involved in talks to bring Bauer back this winter as they looked to reduce payroll for the upcoming season. Bauer was the top pitcher on the free-agent market and picked the Dodgers' offer over the New York Mets.
Bauer, the Reds' first Cy Young winner in club history, backed off his pledge to sign one-year contracts throughout his career, which benefitted the Reds in terms of their comp pick. He is scheduled to make $40 million in 2021 and $45 million in 2022, becoming the sport's first player to garner $40 million in a season.
The comp pick should be No. 30 overall. If he signed a deal that was worth less than $50 million, the pick would've been after the second round, the difference of about 35 picks.
The Reds were never in serious talks to re-sign Bauer this winter as they focused on reducing payroll for the upcoming season. They extended a one-year, $18.9 million qualifying offer to Bauer in November, but that is just a formality for the best free agents because it assures teams of a compensation pick. Bauer knew he could make more money in free agency and rejected the qualifying offer.
The Reds always knew it was likely that Bauer would spend only 1 ½ seasons in the organization when they traded for him at the 2019 trade deadline. Their gamble turned into the team's first playoff berth in seven years when Bauer posted a 1.73 ERA in 11 starts.
Bauer had a historic performance in Game 1 of the Wild Card Series, striking out 12 and walking none in 7 2/3 innings against a tough Atlanta Braves lineup. He yielded just two hits, but the Reds were swept out of the postseason without scoring a run.
The Reds traded their top prospect, Taylor Trammell, along with Yasiel Puig and minor league pitcher Scott Moss, to acquire Bauer in 2019. They viewed the compensation pick as a way to replenish the farm system afterward.
After netting the comp pick, the Reds own three of the first 35 picks in the 2021 Draft.
Without Bauer, the Reds will likely head into spring training in a couple of weeks with a rotation that features Luis Castillo, Sonny Gray, Tyler Mahle, Wade Miley and Michael Lorenzen.
Bauer was the first Cy Young winner to reach free agency in the same year since Greg Maddux in 1992. He's the first Cy Young winner to join the defending World Series champions since Roger Clemens in 1999.