Trevor Bauer Could Be Eligible to Play Start of MLB’s Next Season

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

Trevor Bauer must be releasing a sigh of relief, as news broke that the Dodgers’ pitcher will not be criminally charged, according to TMZ. Bauer, who was accused of punching a woman and choking her unconscious during an episode of rough sex has now been handed a second legal victory. The highly controversial incident left many generally debating where the line should be drawn between rough sex and potential criminal assault in the bedroom.

Bauer’s accuser, who publicly shared pictures of her alleged injuries which she said included black eyes, scratches on her face and bruising, had initially been awarded a temporary restraining order against Bauer. However, after a hearing, a Judge lifted the order, ruling it inappropriate to grant a permanent order of protection for several reasons. First and foremost, the two “hook up” episodes did not form the basis of a spousal or dating relationship, which is usually needed for an enduring order of protection. The Judge also issued a rebuke of the accuser, agreeing that she allegedly led Bauer to believe she wanted to be choked unconscious. The Judge, who was a female, said that when a woman says “no” during a sexual encounter, she should be believed but “what about when she says yes?”

Bauer’s accuser had texted him that she wanted to be choked, liked it and wanted to have “all the pain.” After the second mutual encounter, the woman said that she expected light choking and slapping and did not consent to being punched or scratched while unconscious.

The Judge said the graphic images of the woman were “terrible” and in other cases would likely result in an on its face “condemnation” of the person who inflicted them. However, she also said that in Bauer’s case, in her opinion, the accuser was “not ambiguous” about wanting very rough sex with Bauer and he “couldn’t know the boundaries which [the woman] didn’t express to him.”

The question remained, whether Bauer would face criminal charges following an investigation by the Pasadena Police Department. Tuesday afternoon, TMZ reported that police would not be bringing criminal charges and based that decision, partly, on the text message exchanges between Bauer and the accuser.

In graphic back and forth messages, the accuser asked to be choked and slapped as mentioned above. However, it is also possible that the Judge’s decision and rhetoric in the hearing for the permanent restraining order also played into the decision not to charge Bauer. The Judge’s opinion, could have been used as evidence by Bauer’s team in any subsequent criminal case to defend himself.

Furthermore, the perception of the text message exchanges by a jury, may have posed a problem for the accuser in terms of a district attorney having a compelling enough accuser to win a case. Keep in mind, what actually occurred in the bedroom, in terms of consent and what was said and done is a he-said/she-said. Bauer, who has been on paid administrative leave since July 2nd, missed the bulk of the 2021 season.

Major League Baseball has been conducting its own investigation, however, it seems reasonable to assume that it will handle the allegations in the same way as it did with Atlanta Braves’ Marcell Ozuna. MLB may not issue a suspension but if it does then it will likely apply it retroactively. Since he missed several months of the 2021 season, it’s safe to assume Bauer will be eligible to play at the start of next season unless he is handed a full year-long suspension. Sam Dyson, was recently handed a full 162 game suspension in 2021 over domestic violence allegations, despite not being charged with a crime. So, it is possible. However, this is a much trickier situation involving a random hookup, instead of a domestic partner. It also includes messages discussing rough sex and a Judge who ruled, quite favorably, for Bauer. The typical suspension for domestic violence or sexual assault under MLB’s policy is six games, however, MLB is generally much more heavy handed when it comes to cases where there are injuries, and documentary evidence of such injuries. Under its policy, Aroldis Chapman (30 games), Addison Russell (80 games), Roberto Osuna (75 games) and Jose Reyes (51 games) are among the All-Stars who have faced steep discipline. The longest suspension was a 100-game ban for Padres pitcher Jose Torres. Irrespective of the length of the suspension, the wild card in this scenario is whether the Dodgers will keep Bauer on board and if not, who will sign him.