The Los Angeles Dodgers have released right-hander Trevor Bauer, the team announced Thursday. The Associated Press reports Bauer cleared release waivers Friday and is now officially a free agent.
Bauer was designated for assignment last Friday, giving Los Angeles seven days to trade, release, or waive him. A release was always the most likely outcome because finding a willing trade partner was going to be difficult, and no team would claim Bauer on waivers and absorb the $22.5 million or so owed to him in 2023.
The Dodgers are still responsible for the $22.5 million remaining on Bauer's contract. If a team signs him, they will only be on the hook for the prorated portion of the $720,000 league minimum in 2023, though it is uncertain whether a team will sign Bauer even at that rate. Among the teams who have leaked they are not interested are the New York Mets and New York Yankees (per the New York Post), the San Diego Padres (per the San Diego Union-Tribune), the San Francisco Giants (per the San Francisco Chronicle), and Minnesota Twins (per The Athletic).
On Dec. 22, an arbitrator reduced Bauer's suspension under MLB's domestic violence, sexual assault, and child abuse policy from 324 games to 194 games, which is still the longest suspension in the policy's history. The suspension cost him close to $38 million in salary. Rule 2(c) required the Dodgers to reinstate Bauer to their 40-man roster within two weeks of the arbitrator's ruling, though they instead opted to cut ties and remove him from the organization. The Dodgers released the following statement after designating Bauer for assignment:
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.
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 contract worth $102 million with the Dodgers prior to the 2021 season. The arbitrator who reduced his suspension ruled that he will play without pay for the first 50 games of this season, reducing his 2023 salary from $32 million to approximately $22.5 million.