Stan Kasten: Won’t Get ‘Into Contradicting Or Agreeing’ On Details Of Dodgers Meeting With Trevor Bauer

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The Los Angeles Dodgers made the decision to unconditionally release Trevor Bauer on January 12, making the right-hander a free agent and available to sign with any team in Major League Baseball.

In late December, an independent arbitrator reduced Bauer’s original suspension from 324 games to 194 and immediately reinstated him. The move to cut ties with Bauer ended a regrettable saga that Dodgers officials chose to distance the franchise from rather than stand behind as the 2023 season approaches.

“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,” the Dodgers said in a statement upon designating Bauer for assignment.

Club officials met with Bauer prior to the January 6 deadline to decide whether to bring him back or proceed with their release. There were some indications the clubhouse was divided on how to move ahead, and after his release, Bauer, his agent Rachel Luba and attorneys Jon Fetterolf and Shawn Holley released a statement stating the Dodgers expressed a desire to have him return during their meeting.

When team president and CEO Stan Kasten discussed the matter, he declined to agree or refute Bauer’s claim but believes the Dodgers’ decision spoke loudly, via Alden Gonzales of ESPN:

“I’m not gonna get into contradicting or agreeing with anything about what was supposed to be a private conversation,” Kasten said when asked about Bauer’s claim for the first time. “I’ll just say within a very short time we came back and made our decision. I think that speaks for itself.”

Knowledge of the meeting is slim and because of the delicacy of the matter, Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman and Kasten have been hesitant to go into any detail. Kasten maintained that stance:

“I don’t want to talk about what went on, what was discussed, what wasn’t discussed or who was there,” Kasten said. “But we did hear from him. I thought it was the right thing to do. I’m happy that we did it, along with everything else that we did, to reach the best decision that we could. I stand by our decision. I’m very comfortable with it.”

Bauer’s career with the Dodgers ended at just 17 starts after signing a three-year, $102 million contract in February 2021. The last game he pitched in came on June 28, 2021, when Bauer posted a 2.59 ERA and 1.03 WHIP in his final season with the team.

Freddie Freeman: Dodgers decision on Trevor Bauer ‘was an ownership call’

The Dodgers are on the hook for $22.5 million in salary owed to Bauer for the 2023 season, and there remained some speculation the team would keep him on the roster, but Freddie Freeman lent some insight on who had the final say.

“I do know that was an ownership call,” Freeman recently said. “I was talking to Andrew Friedman, and that was a Dodgers call.

“It played out how I think everyone thought it was going to play out. I wasn’t around in ’21 when he was here, so I think that’s more of a question for those guys and how they liked him, or didn’t like him, or what.

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