Bauer was announced as the 2020 winner of the National League Cy Young award Wednesday. The 29-year-old received 27 of 30 first-place votes, with Yu Darvish taking the other three votes. Bauer posted a 1.73 ERA, 0.79 WHIP, and 100:17 K:BB over 73 innings with a 5-4 record in 11 starts during the shortened 2020 campaign. The right-hander is officially a free agent after declining Cincinnati's one-year, $18.9 million qualifying offer for 2021 last week.
Bauer rejected his $18.9 million qualifying offer from the Reds on Wednesday, Bobby Nightengale of The Cincinnati Enquirer reports. Bauer was expected to turn down the qualifying offer, although he hasn't ruled out a return to Cincinnati after putting together a career-best season in which he recorded a 1.73 ERA, 0.79 WHIP and 100:17 K:BB over 73 innings. He's a favorite to win the NL Cy Young Award and should draw significant interest entering his age-30 season.
Bauer was extended the $18.9 million qualifying offer by the Reds on Sunday, Mark Feinsand of MLB.com reports. The 29-year-old put up the best numbers of his career during the shortened 2020 campaign and is poised to win the NL Cy Young when awards are announced later in November. Bauer had a 1.73 ERA, 0.79 WHIP and 100:17 K:BB over 73 innings and, assuming he declines the qualifying offer, will enter free agency as the top pitcher on the market, a move which guarantees the Reds a draft pick as compensation upon his signing elsewhere.
Bauer allowed two hits over 7.2 scoreless innings in a no-decision against the Braves on Wednesday in Game 1 of the NL Wild Card Series. He struck out 12 and did not issue a walk. Per Mark Sheldon of MLB.com, Bauer became the first pitcher ever to throw at least 7.2 innings with no runs, two hits or fewer, no walks and 12 strikeouts in a postseason game. Unfortunately for Reds fans, it was all for naught as the Cincinnati offense could not support him -- a theme throughout the 2020 season -- and Atlanta ultimately walked it off on a Freddie Freeman single in the 13th. Bauer was brilliant on the mound this season and may very well be headed into free agency as a newly-minted Cy Young winner.
Bauer will start Game 1 of the NL Wild Card Series. The Reds' opponent for the best-of-three series to open the postseason still isn't known, but Bauer will take the mound for the first game, followed by Luis Castillo and Sonny Gray in the next two contests. Bauer had a dominant start in his final outing of the regular season to strengthen his bid for the Cy Young and will attempt to carry his momentum into the playoffs.