Trevor Bauer, a star pitcher who was recently reinstated to Major League Baseball after a long suspension for violations of the league’s domestic violence policy, was designated for assignment by the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday. He is expected to be released by the team.
Bauer, 31, had his 324-game suspension reduced to 194 games by an independent arbitrator on Dec. 22, which triggered a 14-day window for the Dodgers to either activate him to the team’s 40-man roster or release him. The team is still responsible for Bauer’s full salary in 2023, which was reduced to $22.5 million by the arbitrator who docked his pay for the first 50 games of the year as part of the reworked penalty.
The move came after months of debate about how the team should handle a situation in which Bauer, who joined the team as a free agent in February 2021, was sidelined as M.L.B. investigated sexual assault allegations by multiple women. Bauer, who was accused of punching and choking the women in what he claims was consensual rough sex, has not been convicted of any crimes but was found by M.L.B. to have violated its domestic violence policy. The league does not share the details of its investigations.
In a statement released by the Dodgers on Friday night, the team said the organization believes sexual assault and domestic violence accusations should be thoroughly investigated with due process given to the accused. They emphasized that the team had participated in M.L.B.’s investigation at every step of the process.
“Now that this process has been completed, and after careful consideration, we have decided that he will no longer be part of our organization,” the statement said.
The initial suspension, handed down by Commissioner Rob Manfred in April, was for 324 games — the equivalent of two full seasons — and did not include any backdating for the time Bauer already missed while on paid administrative leave. The league and its players’ union agreed to have an independent arbitrator handle Bauer’s appeal of the suspension.
That arbitrator, Martin F. Scheinman, determined Bauer was in violation of the league’s policy and that the violations warranted a long suspension, but he chose to reduce the penalty to 194 games and allowed for Bauer to be activated immediately, effectively giving him credit for time served.
Even with the reduction, Bauer’s suspension is the longest of its kind in M.L.B. history, and in the end it will have cost Bauer $37.5 million of salary, which is the steepest penalty the league has levied.
Throughout the process, Bauer has been active on social media, denying the allegations and sharing pitching tips. When the reduction of his suspension was announced last month, his lawyers issued a statement saying they “disagree that any discipline should have been imposed,” and he tweeted about doing a video log of the upcoming season and said, “Can’t wait to see y’all out at a stadium soon!”
For the Dodgers, bringing Bauer back was most likely not worth the negative attention the move would receive, even with the large amount of money the team is still required to pay him. Los Angeles won an M.L.B.-best 111 games in 2022, and while the team lost the starters Tyler Anderson and Andrew Heaney to free agency, they added the right-hander Noah Syndergaard as a free agent to a talented rotation that also includes Clayton Kershaw, Julio Urías (who served his own 20-game suspension for a domestic violence incident in 2019) and Tony Gonsolin.
Bauer, who won the National League’s Cy Young Award as a member of the Cincinnati Reds in the season before the sexual assault allegations were reported, will most likely become a free agent and could be signed for the major league minimum salary.