Content warning — the following includes discussions of sexual abuse.
The Los Angeles Dodgers and their biggest offseason signing have found themselves in a difficult situation, and it isn’t because of sticky stuff on the field.
Over the winter, the Dodgers landed the biggest free agent pitcher on the market, right hander Trevor Bauer. Fresh off of a Cy Young Award with the Cincinnati Reds, Bauer dominated the baseball news cycles while ‘deciding’ with which team to sign. It came down to the New York Mets and Los Angeles, with Bauer ultimately signing with the Dodgers.
The Bauer signing came with a lot of scrutiny, from the amount of the contract to the ‘colorful’ history of Bauer’s career. From incidents with drones to calling out of foreign substances on baseballs to harassment of people, especially women, online.
Now, news comes of an alleged sexual assault by Bauer with a woman he met online, via Instagram. The two traded direct messages and then decided to meet up for a sexual encounter. The pair also met up again a second time.
Afterwards, the woman filed a police report. Things had turned violent during the encounter(s) with the woman sustaining a concussion and missing part of her memory of the encounter. She sustained a fractured skull from the incident. The woman has also filed a Protect From Abuse order against Bauer.
This article in The Athletic highlights many of the sordid details of the encounters. It is not for the weak of heart, and is triggering for those who have been a victim of assault themselves.
For his part, Bauer has released text messages defending his side of the story, saying that both meetings were consensual.
While not anywhere near as dire as what transpired between him at the woman, the time stamps on the text messages show that he was communicating with her within the banned 30-minute window of a player having a phone before the start of the game.
So now the Dodgers face the problem of what to do. Staying silent and letting Bauer continue to pitch says they don’t care about sexual assault allegations, but they do care about winning the division. A five or ten-game suspension while MLB sorts things out may be in order, a wait-and-see approach until the big decision is reached to see if criminal charges are filed against Bauer.
Or, they can suspend him for the rest of the season, or release him from the team permanently. The latter will most likely not happen unless Bauer is charged and found guilty of the assault, either through an MLB investigation or through the courts. There is an investigation hearing set for July 23rd.
When pitcher Julio Urías was under investigation for alleged domestic battery, the Dodgers placed him on administrative leave. He was later found guilty and was given a 20-game suspension, although the five-game suspension given by the Dodgers earlier in the year counted towards that time.
The Dodgers need to do the bare minimum here and place Bauer on administrative leave. While consensual sex, rough or otherwise, is completely in any player’s (or person’s) right, the amount of violence shown in the court filing is a huge cause for concern. If they placed Urías on leave for shoving his girlfriend in a parking lot, then this also qualifies as something that needs time away from the team.
So far, the team has only made one statement, on Tuesday, which reads, “The Dodgers were made aware of the allegations against Trevor Bauer late this afternoon and immediately contacted MLB, which will be handling this matter. The Dodgers take any allegations of this nature very seriously, but will have no further comment at this time.”
Updated – The Dodgers, through manager Dave Roberts, have stated that “Regardless of what the team wants to do, they have been instructed by MLB to move forward as normal”, and that Bauer will pitch on Sunday.