San Diego Padres are better off without Trevor Bauer

(Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
(Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /
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It looks like the sweepstakes surrounding the top free agent pitcher on the market is coming to a head at long last.

Trevor Bauer, the eccentric reigning National League Cy Young winner, reportedly has an offer in-hand from the New York Mets (although it’s reported to be weeks-old already). If Bauer does, indeed, sign with the Mets – San Diego Padres fans should breathe a sigh of relief.

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Now, I know – not adding a Cy Young-caliber arm isn’t usually considered a win. But San Diego went in a wildly different direction this offseason and are better off for it. We know Bauer is targeting Gerrit Cole’s AAV record of $36 million. Instead of ponying up such a deal, the Padres broke up that money and built out a legitimate World Series contender.

The team traded for Yu Darvish (owed $59 million over the next three years) and Blake Snell ($30.8 million over three years) – which works out to just over $31 million this season. Add in Joe Musgrove, who came over in a trade with Pittsburgh, ($4.45 million salary in 2021) and you can easily see: San Diego added a trio of starting pitchers to their arsenal for less than Bauer’s targeted AAV.

Darvish, who finished runner-up in the NL Cy Young race to Bauer, is coming off a dominant run that dates back to the All-Star Break in 2019. He’s unleashed an arsenal of 11 pitches on opposing hitters, doing so masterfully, and giving San Diego a veteran ace atop the rotation.

Padres are deeper and more talented without Trevor Bauer

Snell, a former Cy Young winner himself, is cost-controlled and brings a winning pedigree from his time in Tampa Bay. Musgrove, a San Diego area native, could wind up being a major contributor after escaping the dredge of playing for the Pirates.

With the funds still at his disposal, general manager AJ Preller brought back utilityman Jurickson Profar – further bolstering the club’s depth. Whether or not the front office adds a couple more relievers to the mix or not, this team is built to win now and for years to come.

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If San Diego approaches the deadline this summer in need of shoring up a specific position, the fact they didn’t tie up $36 million annually in one player will pay huge dividends. Preller masterfully navigated the trade market to perfection this winter, keeping his prospect core intact while rounding out a roster built for October.

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