The Los Angeles Dodgers officially cut ties Friday with starting pitcher Trevor Bauer, the embattled former Cy Young Award winner who in April 2022 received the longest suspension for an active player under MLB’s domestic violence policy following assault allegations. sexual.
Bauer has been designated for assignment, which means he will in all likelihood clear waivers and be released from the team.
The decision comes two weeks after an independent arbitrator reduced Bauer’s suspension from 324 games to 194, immediately reinstating him but deducting his pay for the remaining 50 games to start the 2023 season. The ruling opened a 14-day window. so the Dodgers decided to add him to their roster or release him.
They stretched out their decision until a Friday deadline, ultimately choosing a route that had been widely anticipated across the industry for the past few months.
“The Dodgers organization believes that allegations of sexual assault or domestic violence should be fully investigated, with due process for those accused,” the team said in a statement Friday. “From the beginning, we have fully cooperated with Major League Baseball’s investigation and have strictly followed the process outlined in MLB’s Joint Policy on Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse.
“Two exhaustive reviews of all available evidence in this case — one by Commissioner Manfred and one by a neutral arbitrator — concluded that Mr. Bauer’s actions warranted the longest active suspension in our sport for violations of this policy. Now that this process has been completed and after careful consideration, we have decided that you will no longer be a part of our organization.”
The Dodgers are committed to the $22.5 million they still owe him for his final season under contract, but would save $720,000, the major league minimum, if another team signs him on the open market.
Bauer joined the Dodgers in February 2021 on a three-year, $102 million deal that included two opt-outs — but he hasn’t pitched since June 28 of his first year.
The next day, a then-27-year-old San Diego woman filed a domestic violence restraining order (DVRO) request alleging that Bauer assaulted her over the course of two sexual encounters at her home in Pasadena, California, in April and May, prompting a lengthy MLB investigation that left Bauer on administrative leave for the remainder of that season.
Bauer, who has denied any wrongdoing throughout, claimed two legal victories later, first when a Los Angeles judge dismissed the woman’s request for a permanent restraining order in August 2021 and then when the District Attorney’s Office of Los Angeles declined to press criminal charges in February 2022. But two other women made similar allegations to the Washington Post. And MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred, who has the autonomy to suspend players even if they’re not charged with a crime, announced a 324-game suspension for Bauer in late April, twice as long as the longest previous suspension under domestic violence policy.
Martin Scheinman, an independent arbitrator retained by both MLB and the MLB Players Association, spent part of the next eight months presiding over Bauer’s case, reviewing the findings and hearing testimony before determining that Bauer’s suspension would be reduced to 194 games, 144 of which were addressed during the complaint process. Scheinman ruled that Bauer would be taken off pay for his remaining 50 games at the start of the 2023 season, but that he would be immediately reinstated, essentially leaving the rest up to the Dodgers.
The Dodgers, sources said, were not expecting a decision until sometime in January and were caught off guard when it was revealed three days before Christmas. His opening statement – “We have just been informed of the referee’s ruling and will comment as soon as possible” – was surprisingly evasive, consistent with his approach over the previous 18 months.
The Dodgers canceled Bauer’s scheduled bobblehead night and removed his merchandise from their stores shortly after MLB first placed him on administrative leave. Team president Stan Kasten later emailed employees in August 2021, as the San Diego woman’s DVRO hearing was taking place, saying he was “deeply concerned by the allegations” against Bauer. Outside of that though, the team has barely commented publicly. And under the terms of the domestic violence policy, they were not allowed access to details of MLB’s investigation or the reasons behind the referee’s ruling, which at least partly explained their delay in reaching a final decision.
Bauer won the Golden Spikes Award with UCLA in 2011 and was the No. 3 pick in the MLB draft later that summer. He clashed with his Arizona Diamondbacks teammates, prompting a trade after his first full season, and was at the center of two infamous incidents in Cleveland, allegedly cutting his finger on a drone before a start to the 2016 playoffs and threw a baseball over the center field fence after being removed from an outing on July 28, 2019, three days before being traded again.
Bauer won the Cy Young Award in 2018, then repeated while with the Cincinnati Reds during the COVID-19-shortened 2020 season. The Dodgers signed him later that offseason, beating out the New York Mets despite rampant criticism surrounding Bauer’s history of bullying others on social media. During Bauer’s introductory news conference, Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman touted the organization’s culture and investigative process, adding that he believed Bauer had learned from past transgressions.
“And you know what, we’re all going to make mistakes,” Friedman said then. “What’s important to me…is how we internalize it and what our thoughts are about the future. From our point of view, it was important to have that conversation. And we came away feeling good about it. Now, obviously, time will tell. But I feel like he’s going to be a tremendous addition, not just on the field but in the clubhouse, in the community, and obviously that’s why we’re sitting here.”
In his first three months in Los Angeles, Bauer posted a 2.59 ERA in 17 starts.