The Los Angeles Dodgers have announced that they will DFA starting pitcher Trevor Bauer, removing him from their roster and allowing him to walk as a free agent.
Under the rules of designated free agency, the Dodgers have seven days to trade Bauer to another team. If they can’t find a match, he’ll be released and can sign with any team for a minimum of $720,000. The Dodgers will also pay $22.5m of his contract.
It comes weeks after an independent arbitrator reduced his record 324 game suspension to just 194 after sexual assault allegations – which would have made him available for the start of the 2023 MLB season.
The Los Angeles Dodgers selected DFA Trevor Bauer for the purpose of releasing him
In a statement, the Dodgers said they fully cooperated with MLB’s investigation and that they take the accusations seriously.
‘The Dodgers organization believes that allegations of sexual assault or domestic violence should be thoroughly investigated, with due process given to those accused,’ the statement read.
‘From the beginning, we have fully cooperated with Major League Baseball’s investigation and strictly followed the process set forth under MLB’s Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Policy.
‘Two extensive reviews of all available evidence in this case – one by Commissioner Manfred and the other by a neutral arbitrator – determined that Mr. Bauer warrants the longest active player suspension in our sport for violations of this policy.
‘Now that this process is complete, and after careful consideration, we have decided that he will no longer be a part of our organization.’
The former Cy Young winner with the Cincinnati Reds was accused of sexual assault in 2021
However, Bauer released his own statement on his social media accounts, saying he sat down with Dodgers management the day before who told him they wanted him back.
‘While we are unable to discuss the entire administrative leave and arbitration process, my representatives have spoken with Dodgers management immediately following the arbitration decision,’ Bauer’s statement read.
‘After two weeks of conversations surrounding my return to the organization, I sat down with Dodgers management in Arizona yesterday who told me they wanted me to come back and pitch for the team this year.
‘While I am disappointed in the organization’s decision today, I appreciate the wealth of support I have received from the Dodgers clubhouse. I wish all the best to the players and I look forward to competing elsewhere.’
After the first suspension was handed down, the players’ association filed a grievance on behalf of the former Cy Young Award winner. A three-person panel headed by independent arbitrator Martin Scheinman began hearing the case on May 23.
Scheinman upheld the 194-game suspension rather than Manfred’s proposed 324-game punishment but reinstated Bauer immediately, effectively serving 50 games to cover part of the lengthy period Bauer was placed on administrative leave while MLB investigated during 2021 and early this year.
‘While we believe a longer suspension is necessary, MLB will abide by the decision of the neutral arbitrator, which upholds the longest active suspension of a baseball player for sexual assault or domestic violence,’ said of the league in a statement announcing the reduced suspension. ‘We understand that this process has been difficult for the witnesses involved and we thank them for their participation.’
Bauer’s accuser did not obtain a restraining order and Bauer was not charged with a crime
Bauer was never charged with a crime. Her accuser sought, but was denied, a restraining order against her, and Los Angeles prosecutors said in February that there was not enough evidence to prove the woman’s accusations beyond a reasonable doubt.
Bauer, who has not played since the allegations surfaced and MLB began investigating, has repeatedly said that everything that happened between him and the woman was consensual.
Bauer sued his accuser in federal court, a move that came less than three months after prosecutors decided not to file criminal charges against the pitcher. Bauer named the woman and one of her attorneys, Niranjan Fred Thiagarajah, as defendants in the case.
The lawsuit said that ‘the damage to Mr. Bauer’ after the woman claimed he choked her unconscious, punched her repeatedly and had sex with her anally without her consent during two sexual encounters last year.
The pitcher said the two had sex at his Pasadena home at his suggestion and followed the rules they agreed to beforehand.
Bauer said in a previous statement sent through his representatives that he had a ‘casual and fully consensual sexual relationship from 2013-2018’ with the woman, which began when he was pitching for Triple-A team in Columbus.
‘None of our meetings ever involved a single non-consensual, let alone illegal, act,’ says Bauer.
Bauer has not thrown since June 29, 2021 and has been placed on administrative leave by MLB
Under Major League Rule 2, Bauer will not count against the Dodgers’ player limits for 14 days, giving the team until today – Jan. 6 – to decide whether to cut ties. Under those rules, the Dodgers remain responsible for the roughly $22.6 million he is due next season and he is free to sign with any club.
After winning his first Cy Young with the Cincinnati Reds in 2020, Bauer agreed to join his hometown Dodgers. He did not pitch after June 29 in 2021 and finished with an 8-2 record and 2.59 ERA in 17 appearances.
Bauer was placed on administrative leave on July 2, 2021, under the domestic violence policy, a leave that has been extended 13 times.
Of the 15 players previously disciplined under the policy, the longest suspension is a full season and postseason for free agent pitcher Sam Dyson in 2021. None of the players previously disciplined under the policy appear to have challenged the punishment in before an arbitrator.