The Dodgers on Thursday finalized their three-year contract with Trevor Bauer, with the reigning National League Cy Young Award winner guaranteed up to $102 million over the life of the deal.
Bauer’s contract is structured in such a way that he can opt out of the deal after 2021 or after 2022. The payout, per Jabari Young at CNBC, is as follows:
$10 million signing bonus
2021: $28 million
2022: $32 million
2023: $32 million
If Bauer opts out after 2021, he gets an extra $2 million. If he opts out after 2022, he gets $15 million. That effectively makes this potentially either a one-year, $40 million deal, or a two-year, $85 million deal, though with three guaranteed seasons the total contract has a lower average annual value ($34 million) for competitive balance tax purposes.
“I’ve said it a lot this entire process, I’m looking for a partnership. I want a chance to win,” Bauer said at his introductory press conference on Thursday. “I don’t want to be a player that signs a long term deal and towards the end is resented either by the fan base by the organization, or on my end for having my performance slip below what my contract dictates. So I wanted something with with flexibility.”
A contract with various levers has some caveats. Bauer’s $28 million salary for 2021 is all due on November 1, per Ronald Blum of the Associated Press. If Bauer opts out after the 2021 season, the Dodgers can defer $20 million.
If he opts out after this year, he would receive a $2 million buyout, but the Dodgers would be able to defer $20 million of his 2021 salary without interest and pay that money in $2 million installments each Dec. 1 from 2031-40.
The Dodgers don’t generally give out no-trade clauses, but Bauer has a limited one. Again, per Blum at the AP:
Bauer has a limited no-trade provision that requires his consent to be dealt to an American League team from opening day through the All-Star Game. He has a contingent limited no-trade provision for the rest of each season requiring his approval to be dealt to an AL team if he is an All-Star, has thrown more than 80 innings before the All-Star Game or pitches at least one inning in each start before the All-Star Game.
To make room for Bauer on the 40-man roster on Thursday, the Dodgers designated Josh Sborz for assignment. He’ll have to be placed on waivers at some point in the next week.