Trevor Bauer to the South Side?
It’s what a lot of White Sox fans have at the top of their winter wish list.
Bauer is far and away the best starting pitcher on the free-agent market, and with the White Sox in search of starting pitching this offseason, there figures to be interest in the guy who just won the National League Cy Young Award following a career year with the Cincinnati Reds.
The White Sox were eliminated from the postseason in their best-of-three AL Wild Card Series, in part, because they didn’t have a reliable third starting-pitching option to turn to after Lucas Giolito and Dallas Keuchel at the top of the rotation. Dylan Cease, Dane Dunning, Michael Kopech, these guys have a tremendous amount of potential, and the White Sox still believe they can develop into top-of-the-rotation arms. But the White Sox also have win-now, championship-level expectations.
In order to meet those expectations, they’ll need some dependability, and adding Bauer’s elite arm to Giolito and Keuchel makes for a championship-caliber 1-2-3 pitching punch.
Bauer was sensational in 2020, posting a microscopic 1.73 ERA and striking out 100 opposing hitters in his 11 starts during the shortened campaign. But his free agency could be different than the average superstar pitcher’s.
Bauer’s a different kind of guy — opinionated, outspoken and active on social media — and he’s made some interesting comments on what he wants out of a landing spot, in the past voicing a preference to signing only one-year contracts and pitch every four days instead of every five. Now, he’s already backtracked on the former, so maybe these are just philosophical musings rather than hard and fast rules during negotiations. What is certain? He’s expected to draw plenty of interest.
Of course, no one knows what to expect in this unpredictable offseason that follows a season without paying customers in the stands. Speculation is it could be a low-spending winter across the league as teams try to save anywhere they can. But that same speculation has often been accompanied by a caveat that the game’s top players will still get their paydays.
Will Bauer get one from the White Sox? He’s a no-doubt fit as they firmly establish their championship expectations, and affordable long-term contracts for their young stars have given them financial flexibility. But will Bauer want to suit up for the South Siders?
He recently spent 20 minutes talking about them and their new manager, Tony La Russa, on his YouTube channel. And while he offered little in the way of firm opinions when it came to how the hire has impacted his view of the team, he did outline some of the questions he’d ask in a potential free-agent courtship.
Plenty of White Sox fans are hoping he likes the answers. Because a Bauer addition would only increase the legitimacy of the White Sox championship contender status.