MLB’s best pitcher in free agency is now being linked to the team with the highest payroll. The Los Angeles Dodgers are reportedly eyeing Trevor Bauer as the 2021 season inches closer.

L.A. is monitoring the market for Bauer, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan, and they could pursue the starter depending on his asking price. MLB Network’s Ken Rosenthal named the Dodgers as a team to watch for Bauer if the free agent is willing to take a short-term deal.

It was only a little less than two years ago that Bauer indicated he might only sign a one-year contract, though the 30-year-old is now expected to ink a multi-year deal. Bauer has been expected to sign a nine-figure deal this offseason.

The San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Angels are thought to be realistic contenders for Bauer.

Gerrit Cole, the top pitcher in last year’s free-agent class, was offered an eight-year, $300 million contract by Los Angeles. Cole grabbed a nine-year contract from the New York Yankees.

Maybe the Dodgers can lure Bauer to Los Angeles for a couple of seasons with a lucrative average annual salary. It’s how the team tried to land Bryce Harper in 2019, offering him a four-year, $180 million contract. Harper turned down the Dodgers’ $45 million per year offer to make an average of around $25 million per year for 13 seasons with the Philadelphia Phillies.

The Dodgers signed Mookie Betts to a 12-year, $365 million contract last year. Betts is the only player on the team who is currently signed beyond the 2022 season. Former NL MVP Cody Bellinger is under team-control through 2023 and ace Walker Buehler isn’t eligible to become a free agent until 2024.

Clayton Kershaw will make $31 million this upcoming season in the final year of his deal.

Los Angeles has been in trade rumors about a possible deal for star third baseman Nolan Arenado. The Dodgers were linked to DJ LeMahieu before the batting champion re-signed with the Yankees.

The Dodgers are the defending champions, finally winning the 2020 World Series after winning eight straight division titles.

Trevor Bauer Cincinnati Reds
Trevor Bauer #27 of the Cincinnati Reds pitches in the second inning of Game One of the National League Wild Card Series against the Cincinnati Reds at Truist Park on September 30, 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia. Todd Kirkland/Getty Images