Washington Nationals: Trading for Trevor Bauer would be a great move

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CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 08: Trevor Bauer #47 of the Cleveland Indians pitches in the sixth inning against the Houston Astros during Game Three of the American League Division Series at Progressive Field on October 8, 2018 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 08: Trevor Bauer #47 of the Cleveland Indians pitches in the sixth inning against the Houston Astros during Game Three of the American League Division Series at Progressive Field on October 8, 2018 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /
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The Washington Nationals and Cleveland Indians have already linked up for one deal this winter. Could they make another with Trevor Bauer involved?

The MLB Winter Meetings are now underway in Las Vegas this week, where native Bryce Harper is likely to be the center of attention. But could his former team, the Washington Nationals, make a move for Trevor Bauer at the meetings?

The Nats and the Cleveland Indians have come to terms on a deal already this offseason after Yan Gomes was sent to the nation’s capital. But with Washington still potentially seeking one more piece in the rotation, Gomes’ former battery mate would be a great fit.

Bauer is coming off his best season in the big leagues in 2018 as he went 12-6 with a 2.21 in just 28 starts. He recorded career-best figures in most major categories including ERA, WHIP, K/9, BB/9 and FIP, the latter of which also led the league.

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Bauer may even have ended the year in the top five in AL Cy Young voting had he not taken a line drive off his ankle against the Chicago White Sox in mid-August. However, according to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, the Indians are looking to deal him, or Corey Kluber, as they attempt to shed some payroll and acquire some good prospects that will help them in the long run.

After the Nats signed Patrick Corbin to a big six-year, $140 million deal earlier in the offseason, it’s tough to see them bolstering the rotation with a high-end option in free agency such as Dallas Keuchel or J.A. Happ. Therefore, trading for Bauer may be the best value for them to truly form the best rotation in all of baseball.

The former Arizona Diamondback still has two years of arbitration remaining and MLBTradeRumors projects him to make $11.6 million in 2019, which is about a million less than Tyler Chatwood got in free agency last season. It’s also only about two million more than current Nats starter Tanner Roark is projected to make by MLBTR, while it would be a substantial upgrade performance wise.

When we look at what it might cost in terms of prospects to acquire Bauer, the Nats could probably get away with being able to hold onto Carter Kieboom in this deal. Instead, they can form a package around infield prospect Luis Garcia, who may be just as highly rated, just a bit further away from the major leagues than Kieboom.

The next piece of the deal could potentially be Wil Crowe, who is coming off a fine season that saw him rise to Double-A, and he could find himself in the major leagues by summer of 2020. Then to round out the package, with the Indians still bare in the outfield, Michael Taylor would make a nice defense-first player in the outfield who would get the starting role he deserves in Cleveland.

Some might say this is a little much for Bauer, but he really took a huge step towards being the ace he was projected to be from a huge age in 2018. The Nationals would then have four pitchers who could all arguably be the ace of the staff on a few teams.

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Trevor Bauer would be an incredible addition to this Washington Nationals rotation. If the Indians really are motivated to trade one of their top tier starters, then the right-hander would likely be the best value for the Nats.

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