Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
The Los Angeles Dodgers were put on the clock to make a decision regarding the future of Trevor Bauer with their club by January 6, 2023, once an arbitrator reduced his suspension for violating MLB’s joint domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse policy from 324 games to 194.
In addition, Bauer was also immediately reinstated despite serving only 144 games of the suspension with consideration to the games he sat out during the 2021 season when he was first placed on administrative leave for alleged sexual assault. However, Bauer was docked pay for the first 50 games of the 2023 season.
The timing of the decision by arbitrator Martin F. Scheinman reportedly caught the Dodgers by surprise, and although the expectation is they will move on from the right-hander, the front office is said to be undecided about how to proceed.
There are multiple paths the Dodgers can move forward with, which include releasing Bauer, trading him or letting him pitch for them. Regardless of what they ultimately decide to do, their decision is expected to come closer to the Jan. 6 deadline than sooner.
Let Trevor Bauer pitch
One option the Dodgers could make is to add Bauer to their 40-man roster, which would effectively mean they plan to let him pitch for them during the 2023 season. The 31-year-old is still under contract for one more season, and they are going to pay him most or all of his salary regardless of where he pitches in 2023.
On talent alone, Bauer would be a quality addition to the pitching staff. The 2020 National League Cy Young Award winner held a 2.59 ERA in 107.2 innings during the 2021 season before being suspended, and he has been a workhorse throughout his career.
However, Bauer has not pitched professionally in more than a year now, and his effectiveness took a hit once MLB began to crack down on pitchers using sticky substances. Still, he is a talented pitcher who would pitch at the front of the rotation if he is on the team.
If the Dodgers wish to move on from Bauer, they could try to find another organization that is open to adding him and make a trade.
The Dodgers would not receive anything significant in return, but they would likely be able to get some salary relief from the roughly $22 million owed to him in the 2023 season, which could allow them to make additions in other areas while staying below the luxury tax threshold.
There is not much precedent for this type of move, but the Toronto Blue Jays traded relief pitcher Roberto Osuna to the Houston Astros following his suspension for violating MLB’s domestic violence policy, and Aroldis Chapman was traded from the Cincinnati Reds to the New York Yankees while he was being investigated for domestic violence by the league.
If the Dodgers have already decided to move on from Bauer, they will be exploring potential trade options up until the deadline to make a decision. If no deals line up, they could designate him for assignment to give them an additional seven days to find a trade partner.
If Bauer is designated for assignment, he would be removed from the 40-man roster, and if the Dodgers can’t find a trade in those additional seven days, he would be released and become a free agent that any team is eligible to sign.
The expectation around the league is Bauer will be released, and some within the Dodgers clubhouse reportedly prefer that the organization moves on. The same feeling was said to be felt by a majority of the players within the first weeks of Bauer being placed on administrative leave.
The Dodgers would be on the hook to pay all of his salary, and there is the potential he joins another NL playoff favorite, such as the San Diego Padres, New York Mets or Atlanta Braves. But releasing him would also provide the fewest distractions for their players, and ultimately it would put an end to the story the quickest.
Despite not facing criminal charges, Bauer is still set to undergo civil lawsuits, which means his legal troubles will continue to be a distraction to both him and the team. Releasing him would mean that is no longer something the team has to worry about.
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