Trevor Bauer made Cincinnati Reds history on Wednesday, being named the first Cy Young winner to ever call the Cincinnati home.
And I, for one, was absolutely shocked to hear that. The Reds are one of the oldest and most storied organizations in Major League Baseball. A member of the National League since 1890, the Reds were around when the Cy Young award was first introduced in 1956. To think that any team in baseball could go 64 years without a single Cy Young award winner is pretty unbelievable.
But at last, the Reds are on the Cy Young board thanks to a dominant, if drastically shortened, season from Bauer.
And it’d be tough to argue that this wasn’t well deserved. Bauer finished the season with a 1.73 ERA and a strikeout rate of 36%. He finished in the top 10% of the league in xBA, xSLG, wOBA, xwOBA, xwOBACON, and xERA. Along the way, he threw two complete games, both shortened seven inning shutouts, and posted a 12.3 K/9.
And he did it all just in time to enter the free agent market as the reigning Cy Young award winner.
The Reds would obviously love to have Bauer back but they’ll need to break open the piggy bank to get him. The frontline of Bauer, Sonny Gray, and Luis Castillo is one of the best three-man squads in the league. They finished seventh in the league for team ERA in 2020 with a 3.84. And the Reds managed to sneak into the playoff picture but fell in two games during the Wild Card round to the Atlanta Braves.
Bauer predictably declined the Reds’ qualifying offer of $18.9 million so they’ll have to bid against pretty much every other team in baseball to retain him. But the door is open for a Bauer return. And should they retain him, the Cincinnati Reds will be in a good position to do postseason damage in 2021.