Major League Baseball pitcher Trevor Bauer was designated for assignment on Friday by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the wake of a one-season sexual abuse suspension. The team now has until Thursday to find a trade partner for the Bauer; if they do not, he’ll go through unconditional release waivers and if not claimed, become a free agent.
“Now that this process has been completed, and after careful consideration, we have decided that [Bauer] will no longer be part of our organization,” the team said in a statement.
The pitcher also released a statement Friday night that read, in part: “Following two weeks of conversations around my return to the organization, I sat down with Dodgers leadership in Arizona yesterday who told me that they wanted me to return and pitch for the team this year.
“While I am disappointed by the organization’s decision today, I appreciate the wealth of support I’ve received from the Dodgers clubhouse. I wish the players all the best and look forward to competing elsewhere.”
By choosing to release him, the Dodgers will pay the remaining $22.54 million on the three-year contract worth $102 million that Bauer signed as a free agent prior to the 2021 season. Bauer hasn’t pitched since June 28, 2021, since allegations of sexual abuse against a southern California woman came to light.
Under the auspices of the Major League Baseball’s domestic violence program, Bauer can now be signed by any of MLB’s 29 other club’s for the league’s minimum salary of $720,000. The Dodgers are liable for the rest. If Bauer ends up with another team, the Dodgers will be paying for him to pitch for that team.
Bauer has an 83-69 record and 3.79 ERA in 212 starts over 10 seasons for four MLB teams. He was 8-5 with a 2.59 ERA in 17 starts for the Dodgers during the 2021 season before being placed on paid administrative leave during MLB’s lengthy investigation.
He was later suspended by MLB for two seasons even though the Los Angeles District Attorney declined to bring criminal charges for his alleged actions due to lack of evidence. He had been on MLB’s inactive list until baseball suspended him for 324 games this past April 29.
An independent arbitrator recently halved Bauer’s initial suspension, leaving the Dodgers with a costly choice to make after Bauer was immediately deemed active. That ruling gave the team two weeks from that decision to determine whether to reinstate the right-handed pitcher to their 40-man roster or release him.
The Dodgers were freed from paying him $32 million for last season and $10 million for the first 50 games of the coming season, thus the $22.5 million remaining on his contract. The arbitrator reduced his suspension to 194 games.
Even though he can play, the arbitrator docked Bauer’s salary for the first 50 games of the 2023 season from March 30 to May 23, to make up for money he was paid while on administrative leave in 2021.
“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 on Dec. 22, the day the arbitrator reached his ruling.
Bauer has stated publicly that the sex was consensual, and he has been adamant about his innocence. The pitcher remains in litigation after suing his accuser and multiple media companies regarding their reporting of the allegations.
Without the soon-to-be 32-year-old Bauer, the Dodgers will have a starting rotation that includes the recently re-signed Clayton Kershaw, Tony Gonsolin, Julio Urias and Dustin May. The Dodgers also added free agent pitchers Noah Syndergaard and Shelby Miller so far during an offseason in which they shed about $100 million from last season’s MLB-leading $270.8 million player payroll.
The Dodgers currently have a $165.5 million payroll, pending the signings of 10 arbitration-eligible players, and not including any new trades or signings prior to the start of the season.
(This story has been corrected in the headline and details added in the first paragraph. It has also been updated with statements from the Dodgers and Bauer.)