Los Angeles Dodgers Will Part Ways With Trevor Bauer

MLB: Los Angeles Dodgers at Washington Nationals
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Dodgers have decided to cut ties with pitcher Trevor Bauer, making the announcement at the end of the final day of the team’s deadline. The team has designated Bauer for assignment, which means the team has until Thursday afternoon to find a trade for him or Bauer will eventually be released and become a free agent.

“The Dodgers organization believes that allegations of sexual assault or domestic violence should be thoroughly investigated, with due process given to the accused,” the team said in a statement Friday. “From the beginning, we have fully cooperated with Major League Baseball’s investigation and strictly followed the process stipulated under MLB’s Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Policy. Two extensive reviews of all the available evidence in this case — one by Commissioner Manfred and another by a neutral arbitrator — concluded that Mr. Bauer’s actions warranted the longest ever active player suspension in our sport for violations of this policy. Now that this process has been completed, and after careful consideration, we have decided that he will no longer be part of our organization.”

Bauer responded with a statement, indicating that he was under the impression he would be staying with the team after speaking to team representatives as recently as yesterday.

“While we were unable to communicate throughout the administrative leave and arbitration process, my representatives spoke to Dodgers leadership immediately following the arbitration decision,” he said in a statement on Friday. “Following two weeks of conversations around my return to the organization, I sat down with Dodgers leadership in Arizona yesterday who told me that they wanted me to return and pitch for the team this year. While I am disappointed by the organization’s decision today, I appreciate the wealth of support I’ve received from the Dodgers clubhouse. I wish the players all the best and look forward to competing elsewhere.”

The Dodgers had until January 6th to decide if the team wanted to keep Bauer, or cut him. Under Major League Rule 2(C), there was only a short period of time before he had to go back on the roster following reinstatement.

During the last week of December, an independent arbitrator substantially reduced  Bauer’s 324-game suspension to 194 games. The ruling provided credit for time served and reinstated Bauer immediately, making him eligible to pitch this Spring at the start of the 2023 season. The Dodgers remain obligated to pay the remaining salary he is owed under his $102 million dollar, 3-year contract, less the games that he will not be paid for under the terms of the suspension.

Bauer’s original suspension of 324 games would have cost him over $60 million in losses from the contract but he will instead pay approximately $37.5 million for the unpaid, reduced suspension.

The Dodgers are reportedly on the hook to pay Bauer approximately $22.5 Million dollars in 2023.

Bauer can now join another team for as little as the $720,000 MLB minimum salary and his 2023 salary from the Dodgers can offset it. In the alternative, he can secure a lucrative contract and anything below the 22.5 million, will still be supplemented by the Dodgers payroll. Essentially, the team will be paying Bauer to pay for a competitor and already paid him $64.5 million to pitch just 17 games in 2021, prior to his suspension. The startling number amounted to Bauer being paid about $3.79 million per game in 2021, after the team made him one of the highest paid players in baseball.

This is not the first time the Dodgers have foregone retaining a player accused of domestic violence. In 2015, the team traded for pitcher Aroldis Chapman from the Cincinnati Reds but decided to abandon the deal after reports emerged of a police report regarding a domestic dispute between Chapman and his then-girlfriend.

Chapman was the first player to be suspended under MLB’s domestic violence policy and sat for 30 games. The Yankees signed him for the 2016 season and later traded him.

Bauer was placed on administrative leave in July of 2021 and it was extended 13 times as MLB waited for the criminal investigation and its own investigation to conclude.

Bauer was accused of sexual assault during two sexual encounters that Bauer claimed were consensual. Bauer’s accuser alleged that he choked her, sodomized her and punched her in her genitals. She filed a police report, obtained a temporary restraining order and sought treatment at a hospital. A judge declined to grant the accuser a permanent restraining order and police declined to bring criminal charges against Bauer, after an investigation.

Despite not facing criminal charges, MLB determined that Bauer violated its domestic violence and sexual assault policy and suspended Bauer in April for two seasons, after a nine-month long investigation.

MLB said in its notice that two women were
subjected to multiple “violent and nonconsensual acts during sex,” and a third woman was allegedly choked on multiple occasions and Bauer had sex with her while she was unconscious, according to the Washington Post, citing the league.

Bauer has denied the allegations in social media posts and videos as well as through his lawyers and representatives.

Bauer’s representatives said they “disagree that any discipline should have been imposed,” that Bauer looks forward to returning to the field, and that “his goal remains to help his team win a World Series.”

The suspension, even after being reduced, is still the longest suspension in league history for violations of MLB’s domestic violence and sex assault policy. 

The players’ association filed a grievance and independent arbitrator Martin Scheinman heard the case. As a result of the decision, Bauer will reportedly not be paid for the final 144 games of last season and the first 50 games of next season. 

“While we believe a longer suspension was warranted, MLB will abide by the neutral arbitrator’s decision, which upholds baseball’s longest-ever active player suspension for sexual assault or domestic violence,” MLB said in a statement. “We understand this process was difficult for the witnesses involved and we thank them for their participation.”

Bauer initially claimed that his first public accuser, Lindsey Hill, had asked for rough sex and the two had agreed to the conduct that allegedly occurred during the sexual encounters. Hill alleged that Bauer took it over the line by allegedly choking her until she was unconscious and leaving her bruised. Bauer denied the allegations and claimed that Hill doctored photos. The two are presently involved in a lawsuit. Bauer sued her and her attorneys for defamation and she sued him civilly for sexual battery. 

Bauer is also suing several media outlets alleging defamation in their coverage of the allegations. 

Bauer won his first Cy Young with the Cincinnati Reds in 2020. He did not pitch after June 29th of 2021 and finished with an 8-2 record. He earned $28 million dollars last year.

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