Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
The Los Angeles Dodgers officially released Trevor Bauer on Thursday, which came less than a week after they designated him for assignment.
Bauer was previously suspended 324 games by MLB commissioner Rob Manfred for violating the league’s sexual assault policy. Even after being reduced to 194 games by an independent arbitrator, it represented the longest suspension under MLB’s joint domestic violence and sexual assault policy.
The Dodgers remained quiet throughout the process of the investigation, only making one statement after the suspension was reduced, and another when they decided to designate him for assignment.
Now with Bauer no longer on the team, Dodgers president and CEO Stan Kasten and president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman are still declining to comment, via Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times:
Stan Kasten and Andrew Friedman told The Times they won’t talk about Bauer because he is a free agent.
Dodgers leadership may choose to talk if Bauer signs with another team, but it’s hard to envision any team taking on the public relations mess that would come with signing the right-hander:
Friedman, the team’s president of baseball operations, and Kasten, the team’s president, said they could address the subject if Bauer signs with another team, but that’s unlikely to happen.
When the Dodgers first signed Bauer, it was not without controversy. The 31-year-old has a history of harassing women on social media, sharing anti-Semitic and racist conspiracy theories, and making transphobic statements.
Despite the off-the-field issues, the Dodgers still opted to sign Bauer and defended their decision to do so when asked about his past behavior during the introductory press conference at Dodger Stadium.
“Hopefully, over the last six-plus years, some trust and credibility has been built up in terms of the research that we do on players and the vetting process that we go through in terms of talking to teammates, talking to clubhouse guys, talking to trainers,” Friedman said.
“We get as much information as we can on players. There is some stuff that’s more public with Trevor that definitely was something we wanted to dig into. Had multiple conversations with Trevor, Stan and I talked to Trevor, and the most important thing is every teammate we talked to, all the feedback we got from every organization he was with was not only incredibly positive in terms of the type of teammate he is, but also in terms of the impact he makes on each organization.
“Obviously time will tell, but I feel like he is going to be a tremendous add, not just on the field but in the clubhouse and community.”
Bauer was first accused of sexual assault during the 2021 season, and he was quickly placed on administrative leave by Manfred. Bauer was later accused by two other women, and the legal battles remain ongoing despite no criminal charges being filed.
After the 2021 season while Bauer was still under investigation by the league, Friedman was asked if the team’s vetting process has been improved and changed since the signing of Bauer. He declined to answer any specifics and pushed it off to a later date.
“Obviously once we’re able to talk more about Trevor, we can get into that specifically,” Friedman said. “We always want as much information as we can possibly get. There are some restrictions on what we can do, but we always want as much as we can.”
Friedman also declined to comment after the 2021 season when asked if signing Bauer was a mistake or something they regret. “We will talk about it when we can,” he answered.
The time is now here for the Dodgers to take a real stand and answer these questions, but they are still refusing to do so.
The only public statement from the team on the situation said, “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.”
Will Trevor Bauer sign in 2023?
Prior to the Dodgers’ decision to DFA Bauer, it was reported no team expressed interest in acquiring him via trade. The San Diego Padres and New York Mets have also reportedly decided against potentially signing him as well.
The Dodgers signed Bauer to a three-year, $102 million contract in February 2021, and they are now set to pay him a $22.5 million salary this year. However, any contract he may sign with a new team — presumed to be for the league minimum ($720,000) — will be deducted from the amount L.A. owes.
It may be tempting for a team to sign a former Cy Young winner for the league minimum, but teams are usually only willing to take on someone with off-the-field troubles when the player apologizes and accepts the consequences of their actions. Bauer has declined to do both things, which makes it hard for any team to defend signing him.
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