Referee: Bauer reinstated the 194-match ban
Trevor Bauer’s initial 324-game suspension for violating Major League Baseball’s domestic violence policy was reduced to 194 games by an independent arbitrator who also reinstated him.
Bauer’s legal representatives and his employer, the Los Angeles Dodgers, were notified of the arbitrator’s decision Thursday afternoon, ending the seven-month grievance process and bringing some clarity to an saga that had been unfolding over the past year and a half.
Bauer served only 144 games from his suspension, but umpire Martin Scheinman mainly gave him credit for the time he served the MLB restricted list in the second half of the 2021 season. Bauer will have his paycheck deducted through the first 50 games of the 2023 season but will be officially reinstated on Friday.
The Dodgers will have 14 days, through January 6, to decide whether to release him or add him to their 40-man roster.
The Dodgers weren’t expecting a decision until sometime in January, and were caught off guard when they were told about it three days before Christmas, learning of the ruling’s outcome about half an hour before MLB issued a statement to the media, a source said. Close to the situation, ESPN said. The Dodgers responded with a short statement that read: “We have just been notified of the arbitrator’s decision and will be commenting as soon as practicable.”
Bauer’s legal team — consisting of John Fetterulf, Sean Hawley and Rachel Lupa — also issued a statement that read: “While we are pleased to have Mr. Bauer reinstated immediately, we do not agree that any order should have been imposed. That said, Mr. Bauer is looking forward to his return to the field.” , as his goal remains to help his team win the World Championship.”
Bauer is entering the final year of a three-year, $102 million contract he signed with the Dodgers in February 2021. He will have forfeited $37.5 million from that contract through his suspension. The Dodgers saved about $28 million of his salary in 2022 and will save about $9.5 million in 2023, a circumstance that could allow them to fall below the luxury tax threshold. It would guarantee Bauer’s remaining salary of $22.5 million even if he was released by the Dodgers.
Despite the reduction, Bauer’s suspension remains the longest in the seven-year domestic violence policy that was jointly agreed upon by MLB and the MLB Players Association in 2015.
“While we believe a longer suspension was warranted, MLB will abide by the neutral arbitrator’s decision, which upholds the longest suspension of players in baseball for sexual assault or domestic violence,” MLB wrote in its statement Thursday. “We understand that this process has been difficult for the witnesses involved and we thank them for their participation. Due to the confidentiality provisions collectively negotiated in the joint program, we are unable to provide further details at this time.”
Bauer, a 31-year-old former Cy Young Award winner, has been facing sexual assault allegations since a San Diego woman obtained a temporary restraining order against him near the end of June 2021. Bauer has disputed her allegations and remains in litigation with a woman whom ESPN chose not to name. Two other Ohio women made similar assault allegations to The Washington Post, which Bauer and his legal team also disputed.
The Los Angeles attorney general’s office declined to prosecute Bauer in February, but MLB gave him a 324 suspension on April 29, twice as long as the previous longest suspension under its policy. Bauer then became the first player to appeal, which led to a lengthy process in which a three-person panel—consisting of one representative from MLB, another from MLBPA and Sheinman, hired by both parties—reviews the results and interviews witnesses to determine whether to uphold suspension, reduction or elimination.
The subsequent grievance hearing began on May 23, and surprisingly lasted until the end of December. A source familiar with the situation said the San Diego woman witnessed three separate times. One of the women in Ohio also testified while the other recanted, according to the newspaper.
Bauer has not come forward since June 20, 2021. The next day, the 27-year-old San Diego woman filed for a domestic violence restraining order (DVRO) alleging that Bauer assaulted her over the course of treatment. Two sexual encounters at his home in Pasadena, California, in April and May of that year. The woman alleged that he strangled her unconscious on several occasions, repeatedly scratched and punched her all over her body, raped her without her consent and left her with injuries that required a trip to the emergency room after violent sex. Bauer and his attorneys Veterulf and Luba denied the allegations, calling them “fraudulent” and “baseless” in an initial statement.
MLB first placed Bauer on administrative leave on July 2, 2021, which led to an investigation. Subsequently, the other two women from Ohio made similar allegations to the newspaper. In August 2021, a woman told the newspaper that she sought a DVRO against Bauer in June 2020 accusing him of choking and beating her without her consent during sex and sending threatening letters. The newspaper reported that the woman refused her order six weeks later after Bauer’s lawyers threatened legal action. The second woman alleged to the newspaper that Bauer strangled her unconscious without her consent on multiple occasions dating back to 2013.
MLB said it conducted an “extensive investigation” into Bauer’s off-field behavior but did not release details of its findings, nor did it disclose how many women made allegations of assault against him. Bauer, meanwhile, denied any wrongdoing, posting long threads through his Twitter account — some of which contained screenshots of private text messages — in an attempt to give his consent after each of the three women’s accusations. After the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office declined to file criminal charges in February 2022, Bauer released a seven-minute video to YouTube in which he flatly denied the San Diego woman’s version of events.
The DA’s office, which issued its ruling six months after a Los Angeles judge denied the San Diego woman a permanent restraining order, dismissed charges of assault by means likely to result in significant bodily injury, sodomy of an unconscious person, and domestic violence. But MLB, which, according to sources, had heard similar allegations from several women, suspended him after three months.
Prior to Bauer, 15 players had been suspended under a domestic violence, sexual assault, and child abuse policy introduced in August 2015. The policy, jointly agreed with the MLB Players Association, gives MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred the autonomy to suspend players even if no charges are filed. accused of a crime and did not require him to meet the threshold of proof beyond reasonable doubt required by the country’s law enforcement authorities. These suspensions—not counting those of former reliever Felipe Vazquez, who is serving a prison sentence for sexually assaulting a minor—rang from 15 to 162 games and were the result of negotiated settlements in which players waived their right to appeal. Bauer is the first of those players to have more than one accuser known to all.
The Dodgers canceled Bauer’s scheduled night out and removed his merchandise from their stores shortly after MLB placed him on administrative leave in the summer of 2021, but they have hardly commented on his situation publicly. Uncertainty over the umpire’s decision was seen as the primary reason the Dodgers were reluctant to cross the luxury tax threshold for the third year in a row, and often walked away from star free agents this season.
In recent months, Bauer has continued to post videos on his YouTube channel of him participating in vital information sharing sessions and offering promotional advice. He posted a tweet moments after the arbitrator’s decision was announced on Thursday:
You will be the vlogger of the 2023 season 🔥🔥! I can’t wait to see you on the field soon!
– Trevor Bauer (@BauerOutage) December 23, 2022
Bauer filed defamation lawsuits against two media outlets, Deadspin and The Athletic. He also sued the San Diego woman, who followed her with a countersuit in August. On November 23, US District Judge James Selna allowed the San Diego woman to continue with her lawsuit and dismissed Bauer’s defamation lawsuit against one of her former attorneys. In his ruling, Selna wrote that the initial rejection of the restraining order by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Diana Gold-Saltman did not determine whether Bauer committed an act of abuse and that neither party asked her to make such a decision.
State court proceedings did not necessarily determine that Bauer did not batter or sexually assault [the woman]Selena added.
Bauer won the Golden Spikes at UCLA in 2011 and was the #3 pick in the MLB draft that year. He clashed with teammates at Arizona, which led to a trade after his first full season, and had two notable incidents in Cleveland, where he allegedly cut his finger with a drone before the start of the 2016 playoff game and threw a baseball over the center field fence after removing it from a walk in the 28th. July 2019, three days before trading again.
Bauer clashed with Manfred over his handling of the Houston Astros’ signal-stealing scandal and the commissioner’s efforts to market the game to a younger audience, among other issues. Bauer has earned a reputation as a tough teammate, but he is also considered one of the most thoughtful and analytical shooters in the sport.
Bauer made a case for the Cy Young Award in 2018, then won it during the COVID-19 shortened 2020 season while with the Cincinnati Reds. The Dodgers later signed him that offseason, beating the New York Mets despite rampant criticism about Bauer’s history of bullying others on social media.
Bauer pitched like an ace in Los Angeles in the first half of the 2021 season, posting a 2.59 ERA in 17 starts. He hasn’t come down since. The question now is whether he will join the majors again.
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