Facing deadline, Dodgers cut ties with Trevor Bauer

Trevor Bauer’s tumultuous time in Los Angeles is over. Two weeks after a referee ended Bauer’s suspension for violating Major League Baseball’s domestic violence policy, effectively reinstating him, the Dodgers released a statement saying he “would no longer be part of this organization”.

Officially, Bauer, whose 324-game suspension was reduced by the referee to 194 games, has been designated for assignment, a procedural decision that rules him out of the organization and gives the Dodgers seven days to trade him or release. It’s a costly move as the Dodgers are required to pay his $22.5 million salary for 2023 — a figure that was reduced from his full amount as part of the arbitration process.

If the Dodgers fail to trade Bauer – the expected outcome – he will be released, and the next step would be to see if another club would be willing to take a chance on a historically divisive player who has worn down his home in Arizona and Cleveland, won a National League Cy Young Award in Cincinnati during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season and built on that success to sign a three-year, $102 million contract in Los Angeles.

Bauer, 31, is eligible to play immediately. If another club signs him, that team will only be liable for the major league minimum wage of $720,000, with the Dodgers paying the remainder of the $22.5 million.

The choice to walk away from Bauer comes after a tenure in Los Angeles deteriorated almost immediately. In July 2021, just months after he officially joined the Dodgers, MLB opened an investigation after allegations of sexual assault were made by several women. Bauer, who was charged with hitting and choking women in what he claims was consensual rough sex, was not found guilty of any crime but was ultimately found guilty by MLB of having violated its domestic violence policy. The league does not share details of its investigations.

An independent arbitrator, Martin F. Scheinman, was chosen by the league and its players’ union to hear Bauer’s appeal. Scheinman determined that Bauer violated policy, but reduced the suspension from 324 games to 194, effectively giving Bauer credit for the time served.

Even with the reduction, the suspension was the longest of its kind in MLB history, and Bauer will end up losing $37.5 million in salary, which is the highest penalty to come out of politics. joint action on domestic violence and sexual assault.

With Bauer’s future in MLB up in the air, the Dodgers made it clear Friday that it won’t come with their team. After the referee’s decision, Los Angeles had 14 days to either reinstate Bauer to its 40-man roster or designate him for assignment. The team chose the latter.

“Now that this process is complete, and after careful consideration, we have decided that he will no longer be part of our organization,” the Dodgers said in a statement.

Bauer, who was a top free agent heading into the 2021 season, joined the Dodgers after what the team described as a thorough investigation into prior incidents, including two high-profile social media disputes in which women l accused of harassment.

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But things quickly came together. Just three months into his first season in Los Angeles, sexual assault accusations began to surface and Bauer was placed on paid administrative leave. He has not appeared in a match since June 28, 2021.

In the team statement, the Dodgers said they had “fully cooperated with Major League Baseball’s investigation” and noted that “two thorough reviews of all available evidence in this matter – one by Commissioner Manfred and the other by the neutral arbitrator – concluded that Mr. Bauer’s actions justified the longest active player suspension ever in our sport for violating this policy.

Shortly after the Dodgers were released, Bauer released his own statement, through his attorneys, saying that as recently as Thursday the Dodgers told him they wanted him back.

“After two weeks of conversations surrounding my return to the organization, I met with Dodgers management in Arizona yesterday who told me they want me to return and pitch for the team this year,” Bauer said in the statement. “While I am disappointed with the organization’s decision today, I appreciate the wealth of support I have received from the Dodgers clubhouse. I wish the players the best and look forward to competing elsewhere. .

While the meeting in Arizona with a subset of team executives took place on Thursday — the club’s first conversations with the pitcher since July 2021 — a senior Dodgers official, speaking on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the situation, denied that the team told Bauer they wanted him back, noting that their decision to nominate him for assignment on Friday speaks for itself.

Bauer was Arizona’s first pick at UCLA in the 2011 draft. He pitched just four major league games for the Diamondbacks in 2012 before the club traded him to Cleveland. There, while helping launch Cleveland to the World Series in 2016, he suffered a cut while working on a drone large enough to force him out of a playoff game that falls in Toronto.

Cleveland handed it to Cincinnati at the trade deadline in July 2019, three days after angering manager Terry Francona and others by throwing a baseball over the center field fence in frustration during a game in Kansas City as the manager headed to the mound to take him off.

The Dodgers had just won the 2020 World Series when they signed him as a free agent that winter to join a rotation that was also to include Clayton Kershaw, Walker Buehler and Julio Urías (who served his own suspension from 20 games for a violation of the league’s domestic violence policy in 2019). Bauer was coming off his title-winning Cy Young season with the Reds.

Known for having one of the best clubhouse cultures in the game, the Dodgers bet that by assimilating Bauer into their mix, they could overcome his history of on- and off-court issues.

It was an experiment that lasted just 17 starts and cost the Dodgers more than $64 million.

Benjamin Hoffman contributed report.

nytimes sport

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