The Los Angeles Dodgers have designated right-handed pitcher Trevor Bauer for assignment, the team announced late Friday. The move is tantamount to releasing Bauer, which means the Dodgers will eat his $22.5 million salary in the process. Bauer is free to sign with any other team if the Dodgers cannot trade him by the time he goes on unconditional waivers no later than 2 p.m. ET Thursday. Whatever team signs Bauer would only owe him the league minimum.
In accordance with Rule 2(c), the Dodgers had to either reinstate or release Bauer within two weeks (or, by Jan. 6) of an arbitrator's Dec. 22 decision to reduce his suspension from 324 games to 194 games. Bauer's reduced suspension remains the longest Major League Baseball has handed out under its domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse policy.
The Dodgers released the following statement:
The Dodgers organization believes that allegations of sexual assault or domestic violence should be thoroughly investigated, with due process given to the accused. From the beginning, we have fully cooperated with Major League Baseball's investigation and strictly followed the process stipulated under MLB's Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Policy. Two extensive reviews of all the available evidence in this case -- one by Commissioner Manfred and another by a neutral arbitrator -- concluded that Mr. Bauer's actions warranted the longest ever active player suspension in our sport for violations of this policy. Now that this process has been completed, and after careful consideration, we have decided that he will no longer be part of our organization.
Bauer, 31, has not pitched since June 28, 2021. He was placed on administrative leave following his start as Major League Baseball and the Pasadena police department looked into accusations that he had assaulted a woman. The police announced the following February that he would not face criminal charges, but MLB retains the right to punish players who it deems violated league policies, even if they aren't arrested or convicted. Commissioner Rob Manfred suspended Bauer last April.
Bauer has released the following statement:
While we were unable to communicate throughout the administrative leave and arbitration process, my representatives spoke to Dodgers leadership immediately following the arbitration decision.
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.
It should be noted that multiple Dodgers officials denied Bauer's claim that they told him on Thursday they wanted him to return to the team, according to USA Today's Bob Nightengale. Nightengale added that the Dodgers executives he spoke with "privately revealed that they didn't hear any remorse, apologies or anything in the slightest from Bauer to change their mind."
Back in June 2021, The Athletic's Britt Ghiroli and Katie Strang chronicled a woman's allegations toward Bauer. "I agreed to have consensual sex; however, I did not agree or consent to what he did next. I did not agree to be sexually assaulted," she said. The Athletic's report also included graphic details from a restraining order request against Bauer, including the woman alleging that he had punched and strangled her.
Bauer signed a three-year pact worth $102 million with the Dodgers prior to the 2021 season. The arbitrator who reduced his suspension decreed that he will play without pay for the first 50 games of this season.