Bauer teases potential future with Blue Jays: 'Could be a destination'
MLB Network analyst and former big-league first baseman Sean Casey said Tuesday that Toronto makes a lot of sense as a potential landing spot for Bauer based on the Blue Jays' up-and-coming roster. Bauer didn't waste much time before replying on Twitter:
Bauer questioned in October whether he'd be welcome in Toronto after Blue Jays fans mercilessly booed him during the 2016 American League Championship Series; Bauer, then a member of the Cleveland Indians, was forced to exit Game 3 of that series after sustaining a finger injury while tinkering with a drone.
If Bauer is indeed hitting the open market, he'll first need to decline an $18.9-million qualifying offer from the Cincinnati Reds. Any team that pries him away from Cincinnati will be required to surrender a compensatory draft pick to the Reds.
Nevertheless, the Blue Jays could be serious players for the 29-year-old hurler. Since Bauer last tweeted about Toronto, word has surfaced that the Blue Jays plan to be aggressive in free agency this winter and that team ownership won't shy away from spending despite COVID-19-related revenue losses across baseball.
After inking left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu to a four-year contract last offseason, adding the presumed front-runner for the 2020 NL Cy Young Award would give Toronto a formidable one-two punch atop the rotation. The Blue Jays could also get a full season of right-handed flamethrower Nate Pearson.
Even if Bauer doesn't sign with the Blue Jays, offseasons rumors suggest Toronto could emerge as a popular free-agent destination. Steve Phillips of MLB Network suggested Wednesday that DJ LeMahieu would serve as an excellent leadoff batter for the young Blue Jays lineup.