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The Rich Get Richer: Dodgers Sign Bauer

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The defending World Series champs bolstered their rotation by bringing in Trevor Bauer.

The defending World Series champion Los Angeles Dodgers got even better on Friday as they signed reigning National League Cy Young Award winner Trevor Bauer to a record free-agent deal. Bauer announced his decision on Twitter with a YouTube video on his own channel. He will be the highest-paid player in 2021 with a three-year, $102 million deal that includes opt-outs after the 2021 and 2022 seasons. 

Bauer's Big Payday

Bauer is slated to be paid $40 million in 2021, the largest single-season salary in MLB history. If he doesn’t opt out, he will break his own record with a $45 million salary in 2022. If the Dodgers are done making deals, their payroll will be $240 million, which is well over the $210 million Competitive Balance Tax marker. The team will have to pay at least 20% tax on all overages, including 32% tax for all amounts over $230 million. 

The New York Mets were reportedly the other finalist for Bauer’s services, but the right-hander hails from Southern California and elected to return home. The 30-year-old graduated from Hart High School in Santa Clarita, Calif., before leading UCLA to the College World Series. 

In 2020 he went 5-4 while leading the N.L. in ERA at 1.73. He also led the league with a 0.795 WHIP, two complete games, and two shutouts. He became the first Cincinnati Reds pitcher ever to win the Cy Young Award and also finished 10th in the MVP race. Bauer struck out 12 over 7 ? innings in the N.L. Wild Card round while allowing just two hits, but the Reds lost to the Atlanta Braves 1-0.

Bauer brings World Series experience from 2016 with the Cleveland Indians and joins a stacked rotation that includes Clayton Kershaw, Walker Buehler, Julio Urias, and Dustin May. The Dodgers are also expected to get David Price back after the veteran lefty opted out of 2020 and Tony Gonsolin filled in for Price in 2020. Last off-season, the Dodgers made a big splash by trading for American League MVP Mookie Betts, and it paid off with their first championship since 1988. 

World Series Odds Impacted

The Dodgers were already odds on favorites to win another World Series, but they saw their odds change with Friday’s signing. Earlier in the week, when the St. Louis Cardinals traded for All-Star third baseman Nolan Arenado, the Dodgers were listed at +450 to win the World Series and +225 to win the National League. After signing Bauer, they are now +375 to repeat as World Series champions and +175 to win the pennant. 

The next best World Series odds are: New York Yankees (+550), San Diego Padres (+800), Chicago White Sox (+950), Atlanta Braves (+1000), New York Mets (+1000), and Oakland A’s (+1800).

The Padres are +375 to win the N.L., followed by the Braves at +450, the Mets at +525, and the Cardinals at +1000. The N.L. West race should be a fun one between the Dodgers and Padres with the champs listed at -200, and San Diego is +170 to win the division.

As baseball season returns, be sure to check out our Daily MLB Picks.

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