Trevor Bauer Designated for Assignment by Dodgers After Reinstatement from Suspension

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 7, 2023

DENVER, CO - APRIL 2:  Starting pitcher Trevor Bauer #27 of the Los Angeles Dodgers reacts after giving up a two run home run to Ryan McMahon of the Colorado Rockies during the seventh inning at Coors Field on April 2, 2021 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

The following article contains descriptions of sexual assault and interpersonal violence.

The Los Angeles Dodgers are releasing starting pitcher Trevor Bauer, the team announced Friday.

Los Angeles Dodgers @Dodgers

<a href="https://t.co/L1fPfssoB7">pic.twitter.com/L1fPfssoB7</a>

Bauer released a statement on the decision, per Bob Nightengale of USA Today:

Bob Nightengale @BNightengale

Trevor Bauer says in statement that he met with Dodgers officials Thursday in Arizona <a href="https://t.co/W5jGi1BkDM">pic.twitter.com/W5jGi1BkDM</a>

The move comes after a neutral arbitrator ruled in favor of Bauer in the appeal of his 324-game suspension for violating the league's domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse policy. His ban was reduced to 194 games retroactive to when it was issued, thus allowing him to be reinstated with immediate effect.

The Dodgers had 14 days from the ruling to either place the right-hander on their 40-man roster or release him.

The team initially declined to tip its hand.

"We have just been informed of the arbitrator's ruling and will comment as soon as practical," Los Angeles said in a statement.

The Dodgers signed Bauer to a three-year, $102 million contract in 2021. He made 17 starts for the team the following season before getting placed on administrative leave for the first time in July 2021.

Bauer's suspension followed a report by The Athletic's Brittany Ghiroli and Katie Strang detailing the allegations leveled against Bauer in a filing for a domestic violence restraining order. The woman said Bauer had punched her in the face and vagina and strangled her until she lost consciousness during two sexual encounters. She also said he had penetrated her anally while unconscious without her prior consent.

The woman said she agreed to consensual sex with Bauer but "did not agree to be sexually assaulted," per Ghiroli and Strang.

Bauer's agent, Jon Fetterolf, called the allegations "baseless, defamatory, and will be refuted to the fullest extent of the law."

A judge rescinded the initial restraining order in August 2021, and the L.A. County District Attorney's Office announced in February it wouldn't pursue criminal charges against the 2020 National League Cy Young winner.

However, Bauer faced further scrutiny after the Washington Post's Gus Garcia-Roberts reported in April a woman in Columbus, Ohio, said Bauer had "choked her unconscious without her consent" and "slapped her without her consent" during sexual encounters.

Garcia-Roberts and Molly Hensley-Clancy of the Post had also reported in August 2021 that a different woman from Ohio had attempted to get a temporary order of protection against Bauer in 2020.

Bauer's representatives denied the allegations laid out in both reports.

After his administrative leave had been continually extended, MLB issued its 324-game suspension of Bauer in April following an investigation. The league's policy allows it to suspend a player even if they have not been charged with or convicted of a crime.

Bauer maintained his innocence and filed a formal appeal of the suspension.

Trevor Bauer (トレバー・バウアー) @BauerOutage

In the strongest possible terms, I deny committing any violation of the league's domestic violence &amp; sexual assault policy. I am appealing this action and expect to prevail. As we have throughout this process, my representatives &amp; I respect the confidentiality of the proceedings.

Although the arbitrator's ruling accelerated Bauer's possible return to MLB and the Dodgers' decision, it's unclear whether he'll be signed by another team.

ESPN's Jeff Passan wrote in August 2021 when speculating when Bauer might step onto an MLB diamond again, "Almost everyone who has been asked that question has had some derivation of the same answer: Never again in MLB."

The New York Post's Jon Heyman provided similar insight when he reported in May that "many folks even believe he will never pitch again at the big league level."

Bauer has spent 10 seasons in MLB, compiling an 83-69 record and a 3.79 ERA. His 21.7 WAR between 2012 and 2021 rank 28th among pitchers at FanGraphs.

As a free agent, he's now available to sign with any team that makes him a contract offer.