The Los Angeles Dodgers released Trevor Bauer on Friday and ended their partnership with the pitcher after receiving the longest suspension in Major League Baseball’s history for joint domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse policy. .
However, the impact of Bauer’s short tenure will continue to affect the franchise.
Bauer, 31, has played more minutes than any other player since his policy suspension was reduced from 324 to 194 games last week by neutral arbitrator Martin Scheinman. He was later reinstated on December 22nd. He was the only player in the history of Major League Baseball’s policy of appealing to discipline.
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) January 7, 2023
Bauer was set to begin the final year of a three-year, $102 million deal with Los Angeles before the 2021 season. He played in just 17 games with the Dodgers and lost his $37.5 million in that contract to suspensions. He was docked with 50 games worth of rewards for the 2023 season.
In a statement Friday night, Bauer said, “Although we were unable to communicate throughout the leave of absence and arbitration process, my representative spoke with Dodgers management immediately following the arbitration decision. After two weeks of talks about returning to the organization, I met with Dodgers executives in Arizona yesterday who told me they wanted me to return and pitch for the team this year. “But I am grateful for the wealth of support I have received from the Dodgers clubhouse. I wish the players the best of luck and look forward to competing elsewhere.”
He took paid administrative leave that July after a woman in San Diego accused Bauer of sexual assault. The allegations stemmed from two encounters that began consensually and, according to the woman, turned violent. The Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office declined to press charges against Bauer in February.
“While we are pleased that Mr. Bauer has returned to work so quickly, we do not agree that any disciplinary action should have been taken. Helping the team win the World Series.
Under current policy, MLB can punish players without being charged or convicted of a crime.
The Dodgers have been operating relatively austerely this winter, cutting nearly $100 million from salaries in the first few weeks of the offseason in preparation for the arbiter’s decision. Their strategy seemed clear: keep baseball’s luxury tax threshold low, resetting some of the tax penalties they suffered for chasing Bauer in the first place so they could jump back into free agency. .
Bauer’s contract remains guaranteed even after the Dodgers release him. He still owes him $22.5 million in 2023, and that amount will be included in the Dodgers’ luxury tax tally, but he won’t be finalized until the end of the 2023 season. Any team that signs Bauer would only have to pay him the league minimum, and even if he did, the Dodgers would save him just $720,000 in salary.
The Dodgers’ current expected luxury tax figure is around $232.9 million, just below the initial threshold of $233 million, according to FanGraphs roster resources. That number may go up or down as the number of players eligible for arbitration is finalized.
Friday marked the end of a tenure that had been under scrutiny from the start, with some fans noting Bauer’s questionable interactions on social media. Questions about his behavior occasionally spread across the field, such as when he threw a baseball over the center field fence.
Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman vouched for the organization’s vetting process during the deal, saying online behavior was “something we wanted to dig into,” he and team president Stan Kasten told Bauer about it during the hiring process.
“I hope that over the past six years, there has been some level of trust and confidence built around the player research and judging process,” Friedman said.
That credibility crumbled after his contract was terminated following the largest suspension in league history. It’s one of several questions Friedman and the organization must answer now that the franchise has cut ties with Bauer.
(Photo: Meg Olyphant/Getty Images)