On Thursday, Major League Baseball announced that arbitrator Martin F. Scheinman reduced the suspension of Trevor Bauer, which placed the Los Angeles Dodgers on the clock to determine the right-hander’s future with the club.
Bauer was originally suspended 324 games by MLB commissioner Rob Manfred for violating the league’s joint domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse policy, but the arbitrator reduced the suspension to 194 games.
Although Bauer has only served 144 games of the suspension, he was reinstated by the arbitrator with consideration to the time he sat out during the 2021 season when he was placed on administrative leave. However, Bauer was additionally docked pay for the first 50 games of the 2023 season.
The Dodgers now have until January 6, 2023, to add Bauer to their 40-man roster, trade him or release him, but the timing of the ruling caught the team off guard, according to Jack Harris of the L.A. Times:
Team officials weren’t anticipating any major news — especially regarding the status of Trevor Bauer’s appeal of a domestic violence suspension, a decision the club didn’t believe would be known for at least several more weeks, according to people with knowledge of the situation unauthorized to speak publicly.
Along with the earlier-than-anticipated ruling, the Dodgers also weren’t informed of the decision until shortly before MLB made the announcement, and others within the organization didn’t learn about it until the news became public:
Team officials had only been alerted about the ruling roughly half an hour prior, people with knowledge of the situation said, and some staff didn’t learn about it until MLB’s public announcement.
The early belief is the Dodgers will release Bauer when they officially decide on how to move forward, but they have remained mum on his future with the club throughout the process and maintained that stance in the wake of Scheinman’s decision.
“We have just been informed of the arbitrator’s ruling and will comment as soon as practical,” they said in a statement.
The Dodgers signed Bauer to a three-year, $102 million contract in February 2021 that included an opt-out clause after the first two seasons. He faced sexual assault allegations brought forth by a woman from San Diego during his first season with the team and was placed on administrative leave.
Bauer was also accused of sexual assault by two other women.
The administrative leave was extended on several instances during the 2021 season and into the following year as the league conducted its investigation into Bauer. Manfred levied a record suspension this past April after their investigation into the three women’s accusations against Bauer.
The L.A. District Attorney’s Office declined to prosecute Bauer on criminal charges following a police investigation into the accusations filed by the San Diego women, but civil lawsuits remain ongoing and the burden of proof for MLB is far lower than what is required in a court.
Even with Bauer’s successful appeal, the arbitrator still determined a 194-game suspension was justified by the league and affirmed that Bauer was in violation of the league’s policy.
“While we believe a longer suspension was warranted, MLB will abide by the neutral arbitrator’s decision, which upholds baseball’s longest-ever active player suspension for sexual assault or domestic violence,” the league said in a statement.
“We understand this process was difficult for the witnesses involved and we thank them for their participation. Due to the collectively bargained confidentiality provisions of the joint program, we are unable to provide further details at this time.”
Bauer has eyes on pitching in 2023
Regardless of if the Dodgers release him or not, the 31-year-old shared on Twitter his excitement to return to the Major Leagues.
Bauer’s agent Rachel Luba, and attorneys Jon Fetterolf and Shawn Holley also shared their thoughts on his outlook.
“While we are pleased that Mr. Bauer has been reinstated immediately, we disagree that any discipline should have been imposed. That said, Mr. Bauer looks forward to his return to the field, where his goal remains to help his team win a World Series,” they said in a joint statement.
If the Dodgers release him, it remains to be seen if any team would be willing to add Bauer to their roster. But based on previous cases, it does seem likely at least one team would give him a chance.
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