New York Mets: Masahiro Tanaka should be Trevor Bauer backup plan

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 07: Masahiro Tanaka #19 of the New York Yankees heads back to the dugout against the Tampa Bay Rays during the second inning in Game Three of the American League Division Series at PETCO Park on October 07, 2020 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 07: Masahiro Tanaka #19 of the New York Yankees heads back to the dugout against the Tampa Bay Rays during the second inning in Game Three of the American League Division Series at PETCO Park on October 07, 2020 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /
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The New York Mets should have a backup plan in case Trevor Bauer signs elsewhere. That plan should involve Masahiro Tanaka.

Trevor Bauer is coming off an absolutely dominant season, winning the 2020 National League Cy Young award and being named the All-MLB First Team. As he weighs his options in free agency, any team that could afford him is after him.

He is the most coveted pitcher on the market. Nobody knows if Bauer would accept a lengthy contract, since he has expressed interest in only signing one-year deals throughout his career.

The New York Mets are speculated to be one of the most active teams this offseason. They will definitely be in talks with Bauer, but they could easily miss out on that sweepstakes. The Los Angeles Dodgers, the New York Yankees, and the Los Angeles Angels are all interested in Bauer as well.

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If Bauer does not end up in Flushing, there is one particular free agent starting pitcher the Mets should transition their focus to, Masahiro Tanaka.

If they want to contend, they need to add to their rotation. Tanaka, 32, would be a great fit. He has postseason experience, has proved he can play in New York, and is a two-time All-Star. Over seven seasons with the Yankees, Tanaka went 78-46with a 3.74 ERA. He would be a fantastic addition to this hungry Mets teams, deepening their rotation greatly.

It has been done before, but not a lot of New York Yankees switch over to the Mets during free agency. Todd Frazier and Curtis Granderson are the last two to do so. However, Tanaka would add a lot of depth to a light rotation in Queens.

The Mets have deGrom, the best pitcher in baseball, as their ace, but are thin when it comes other rotation options.

Noah Syndergaard is coming off of Tommy John Surgery. Marcus Stroman just signed his Qualifying Offer, a one-year, $18.9 million contract. Steven Matz was moved to the bullpen last season and nobody knows if he is capable of making this rotation. Seth Lugo could be moved back to the bullpen or they might fully change him to a starter. Then, there is Dave Peterson, coming off an inconsistent season.

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Bauer would be ideal, but he will be very expensive, and a lot of teams are interested. Tanaka seems to be a more realistic options, but with Steve Cohen as the new owner of the New York Mets, anything is possible. Other rotation options for the Mets are Jake Odorizzi, James Paxton, and Jake Arrieta.