Atlanta Braves: The unofficial courtship of Trevor Bauer

PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 04: Trevor Bauer #27 of the Cincinnati Reds in action during game two of a doubleheader against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on September 4, 2020 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 04: Trevor Bauer #27 of the Cincinnati Reds in action during game two of a doubleheader against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on September 4, 2020 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images) /
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Trevor Bauer has said that he will consider all offers in free agency. The Atlanta Braves are already unofficially starting their courtship.

One could understand if Atlanta Braves fans were not exactly enamored with Trevor Bauer following their matchup in the first round. He had utterly dominated the Braves, striking out 12 batters over 7.2 shutout innings, allowing just two hits and hitting a batter. His antics likely did not earn him any love either, as he was doing the Tomahawk Chop while coming off the mound, as well as his swagger heading back to the dugout.

Bauer also took to social media to commemorate his performance, with a video showing all of his strikeouts as envisioned through the mind of Ronald Acuna Jr.

Acuna, for his part, took the video in stride, seeing the humor value. And Freddie Freeman, when asked about Bauer’s antics, noted that since he performed that well, Bauer could do whatever he wanted since they could not stop him. Bauer, likewise, stood up for Acuna after he was drilled, saying that he could bat flip all he wanted after his bomb the opposite way. Talent respects talent.

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But there may be more to this than mutual respect. Bauer is a free agent after the season, where he will be one of the most sought after players on the market. His dominance this season, where he posted a league leading 1.73 ERA and a 0.795 WHiP, striking out 100 batters with 17 walks in 73 innings, is certain to have every team interested in his services.

Bauer, who has stated his preference for one year deals in the past, has also said that he will sign with any team depending on the offer. For a team like the Braves, who would presumably be looking for a top of the rotation arm in free agency, Bauer would have to be atop their list.

But for someone like Bauer, comfort and the ability to contend for a World Series are important factors. The Braves have the second one in place, but need to prove that he would be comfortable there. Players like Acuna and Freeman laughing off his antics and saying he can do whatever he wants would go a long way.

It is also possible that the burgeoning bromance between Acuna and Bauer can help. The two appear to be kindred spirits, two players at the top of their game who are simply enjoying all that baseball has to offer. Having someone like that in the clubhouse already would seem to help welcome Bauer to the fold.

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The Atlanta Braves cannot officially pursue Trevor Bauer until free agency begins. But the courtship may have already begun.