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Mets pitchers and catchers report to spring training in less than two weeks, and by Friday afternoon team officials should know whether Trevor Bauer will be among those attending.
The ace right-hander’s agent, Rachel Luba, announced Thursday on Twitter that Bauer has narrowed his choices to two teams — with all indications pointing to the Mets and Dodgers as the finalists.
Bauer, the top free-agent starting pitcher on the market, received an offer from the Mets about three weeks ago, according to an industry source. The belief in the industry has been that if offers are close, Bauer will choose the Mets because a desire to grow his personal brand in the biggest market possible.
Bauer has sought to become baseball’s highest-paid pitcher in terms of average annual value, but the Mets’ initial offer to him was short of the $36 million per year Gerrit Cole is receiving from the Yankees, according to a source.
His addition would give the Mets a dynamic 1-2 punch atop their rotation, with Jacob deGrom (who won the Cy Young Award in 2018 and ’19) as the other component. Trevor Bauer’s free agency decision is nearing.Getty Images
The Mets already have enjoyed a fruitful winter under new owner Steve Cohen, with the trade that brought Francisco Lindor and Carlos Carrasco from Cleveland. Bauer’s addition would reunite three components from the Indians’ World Series run in 2016.
James McCann and Trevor May, both of whom signed as free agents, are the Mets’ other significant additions this winter. That doesn’t include Marcus Stroman, who accepted the Mets’ qualifying offer to return for 2021.
The Mets rotation to begin the season would potentially be deGrom, Bauer, Carrasco, Stroman and David Peterson.
Most notably, he harassed a female college student on Twitter two years ago and later apologized. Bauer’s responses to the woman included digging up a photo from her timeline of her drinking before her 21st birthday, subjecting her to ridicule by his 414,000 followers. Bauer tweeted 17 times at the woman or at others while discussing her over three days.
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“I have been made aware that some of the interactions related to a specific Twitter exchange may have had a negative impact,” Bauer said in a recent statement. “That was not my intention. I will wield the responsibility of my public platform more responsibly in the future.”
Bauer’s addition would put the Mets right up against or above the luxury-tax threshold of $210 million. If they surpass the figure, they will pay a 20 percent penalty on every dollar spent beyond $210 million.
But even with Bauer, the Mets might not be finished spending as they look for potential upgrades in center field and at third base.
If the Mets don’t sign Bauer, they could pivot toward a middle-of-the-rotation option such as Jake Odorizzi or James Paxton.