Betts or Trout? Free Agent Pitcher Trevor Bauer on Facing Two Former MVPs

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Trevor Bauer is an MLB All-Star, NL Cy Young Finalist, and the most sought-after free-agent pitcher on the market.

When it comes to free agency, the right-hander has a lot of options and decisions to weigh: location, whether and how soon the team is in a position to win and, obviously, salary. So when it comes down to making a choice, what is Bauer looking for and how does he prioritize what’s most important?

Bauer’s answer is simple: to be happy. “I want to be involved with teammates I get along with, a team that’s winning, a team that sees things the same way I do analytically, player development wise, that I’m treated fairly and given leeway to be myself. Obviously there are other factors that go into it but really I just want to be happy,” says Bauer. He shared that playing with the Cincinnati Reds this season, when he had an NL-best 1.73 ERA, 0.80 WHIP and 100 strikeouts over 73 innings, he was the happiest he's been in his MLB career. This offseason, the hunt for happiness continues.

As he takes conversations with potential teams, Bauer is continually working on perfecting his craft, something he’s managed to do even during a pandemic. But 2020 presented its own set of challenges for the pitcher. “The intensity ramped up a lot quicker,” Bauer says. “The preparation time was a lot shorter, and the routine was a lot different in between starts and travel.” Not to mention with the MLB’s shortened season, each game played the importance of 2.7 games, which means losing one was like losing a series.

The Reds managed to go 31–29 this season. Trevor Bauer dominated the mound and it’s no surprise that the pitcher was nominated for the Cy Young Award. “Just to be considered a finalist with guys like Jacob DeGrom and Yu Darvish and be in the conversation with them is a huge honor,” Bauer says.

The MLB announces the winner of the Cy Young Award on Wednesday, and Bauer hopes to take the trophy home to add to his résumé of accomplishments. Already on there is the recent role he landed, becoming the first MLB player to partner with Lids.

The All-Star, who once went to a recruiting event at UCLA sporting a Duke hat, learned the importance of having the right headgear. For Bauer, the hat represented a special connection he shared with his dad: being young, glued to the TV, watching Duke together. It’s that human connection that Bauer says he’s excited to bring to other fans during his partnership with the leading sports retailer Lids. “Hats can say so much about a person, not only their interest but their personality, kind of the underlying theme of who that person is,” he says. “It’s so nice to be with a partner that has the same type of vision that I have, connecting with fans and helping push the game forward.”

Pushing the game of baseball forward is a passion of Bauer’s. His goal is to bring more attention back to America’s favorite pastime. The pitcher has started vlogging for his media company Momentum, giving audiences an inside look at the sport. Bauer shares wins, losses and even advice. The pitcher sent videos to Blake Snell during the World Series, giving him advice as he faced one of the league's best players, Mookie Betts — a situation that even Bauer knows is a challenging one.

“There's no way that you can beat him," Bauer says. "He can hit everything and he does hit everything. The damage comes when you get behind and he can eliminate stuff. But don’t be afraid, go right at him and get ahead.”

Bauer faces things head on and isn't afraid of the curve balls that come his way. This modern-day baseball player is a champion in his sport, entrepreneur off the field and on the hunt, like the rest of us, to be happy.